President-elect Park Geun-hye is expected to announce early this week the new prime ministerial nominee after her first pick withdrew himself amid controversy over his real estate purchases and his sons’ exemptions from military service.
With transition committee chief Kim Yong-joon being pushed to resign last week as the prime ministerial nominee despite the initial view that he was “generally acceptable,” Park is reported to be leaning toward individuals who have undergone official vetting in the past.
|Members of the presidential transition committee hold a meeting on Sunday. ( Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)|
Those being discussed as potential nominees include former Supreme Court justices Cho Moo-jeh and Ahn Dai-hee.
Although Kim served as the Constitutional Court president in the 1990s, he was not subjected to the parliamentary vetting process as the Personnel Hearing Act was not legislated until 2000.
Under the act, 60 posts including the Constitutional Court president and members of the Cabinet are required to undergo the parliamentary confirmation hearing.
However, while both Ahn and Cho have clean reputations, the two may be set aside in light of the criticism that former judges who held ranking positions within the judiciary taking the prime minister’s post is in violation of the principle of separation of powers.
As such, talk has also risen of nominating an individual with a distinguished political career as the prime minister.
Those speculated to be included in the list of potential nominees include Saenuri Party chairman Hwang Woo-yea, chief of transition team’s grand unity committee Han Gwang-ok and Kim Jin-sun, the head of the inauguration preparation.
Han is a longtime politician who had been affiliated with the progressive bloc until last year’s election, while Kim Jin-sun is a three-time governor of Gangwon Province.
As for the chief of the presidential secretariat, which replaces the post of chief of staff, some of Park’s closest allies are said to be under review.
As part of Park’s Cheong Wa Dae-reorganization plans, the presidential office will become a presidential secretariat, the head of which will also chair the human resource management committee.
The committee will serve functions similar to that of the Civil Service Commission abolished by President Lee Myung-bak, and will oversee matters regarding high-level appointments.
While Park’s chief spokesman Yoon Chang-joong said that there were “no related movements” within the committee as of yet, speculations have risen that the appointment would be made on Sunday as the chief of the presidential secretariat will be required to provide input in selecting Park’s Cabinet members.
Park allies and associates mentioned in relation to the post include Reps. Yoo Jeong-bok, Choi Kyung-hwan and Yoo Il-ho, who is currently serving as Park’s chief secretary. Presidential transition team’s deputy chief Chin Young and former lawmaker Kwon Young-se are also reported to be among those being considered for the role.
Possible candidates from outside the political arena include Yeungnam University professor Choi Oe-chool, who reportedly played a critical role in recruiting political heavyweights such as Han Gwang-ok onto Park’s presidential campaign team last year.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com)