Published : 2013-01-29 19:37
Updated : 2013-01-29 21:47
Kim Yong-joon (Yonhap News)
Prime Minister-designate Kim Yong-joon withdrew himself from nomination late Tuesday amid spiraling allegations surrounding real estate speculation and the exemption of his sons from military service.
“I have decided to resign as prime minister-nominee as I have caused concerns among the people and brought trouble to President-elect Park Geun-hye due to my lack of discretion,” Kim said in a statement relayed by transition committee spokesman Yoon Chang-jung.
Kim will follow Park’s decision as to whether he should continue as the chairman of her transition team, Yoon said.
In the statement, Kim criticized news outlets for reporting “groundless” allegations and called for a journalism culture where reports are made with respect and grounds concerning the subject matter for confirmation hearings to be conducted pursuant to the law.
Kim relayed his decision to Park in a meeting earlier in the day, Yoon explained.
The transition team said no immediate plans had been made for the alternative nominee for the prime minister’s post.
Kim has been facing allegations of real estate speculation from the 1970s and 1980s by family members, including his two sons, with the properties now reportedly worth billions of won.
Critics also pointed to Kim having joined a law firm soon after his resignation as Constitutional Court chief.
Doubts also surround the exemption from military service of both of Kim’s two sons, who were each deemed unfit to serve due to being underweight and for suffering from gout.
The main opposition Democratic United Party vowed stern evaluation of the prime minister-designate who must undergo a parliamentary hearing for final confirmation.
The president-elect’s first prime-ministerial appointment has often led to a political tug-of-war in the National Assembly between the incoming administration and the opposition.