Published : 2013-01-14 20:19
Updated : 2013-01-14 20:19
President-elect Park Geun-hye will soon have to designate a candidate for the post of prime minister if she is to faithfully follow the constitutional procedure of establishing her Cabinet. Earlier in the month, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, which said it would take a whole month to complete the process, recommended that the president-elect start it by selecting her prime minister-designate by this coming Sunday.
The ministry believes it will take 15 days for the National Assembly to complete a confirmation hearing on the prime minister-designate. When the designate is approved, he will be constitutionally required to recommend candidates for Cabinet posts so that the president-elect can make the final decision on their appointments. Then the National Assembly will hold hearings on the appointees. The ministry expects this process to be completed by Feb. 20, five days before Park is scheduled to inaugurate her administration.
Former presidents and presidents-elect have rarely honored the prime minister’s constitutional privilege to recommend candidates for Cabinet posts and forced the prime minister to endorse their selections. More often than not, they relegated prime ministers to the job of reading speeches at ceremonial events on their behalf, instead of allowing them to manage ministries in the way they wished.
During her presidential campaign, Park promised not to prevent the prime minister from exercising all his constitutionally bestowed rights. In other words, she promised to regard the prime minister as an administrative partner and involve him in establishing her Cabinet and administering state affairs in the way prescribed by the Constitution.
The first thing Park will have to do to make good on her election promise is to pick a person who shares her governing philosophy for the post of the prime minister and, when he is approved, faithfully consult with him on the appointment of Cabinet members. Then she may delegate a substantial portion of her power to the prime minister at her own discretion if she wishes to avoid being denounced for keeping an imperial presidency, as her predecessors have been.
Park, who also promised that her appointments to high public posts would be regionally balanced, is pressured to select her prime minister candidate from among people hailing from Honam ― a neglected region comprising the North and South Jeolla provinces and the Gwangju metropolis. But how much power she shares with the prime minister is more important than where the prime minister is from.