Published : 2013-02-20 20:42
Updated : 2013-02-20 20:42
Prime minister nominee Chung Hong-won faced a barrage of questions from lawmakers Wednesday, the first day of what is expected to be a series of tough confirmation hearings centered on allegations of ethical lapses, including property speculation and tax evasion.
Chung, who was named as incoming President Park Geun-hye’s first prime minister earlier this month, is the first and only Cabinet nominee to undergo the National Assembly’s confirmation hearings ahead of Park’s inauguration next Monday.
If he survives the series of hearings through Friday, the National Assembly is expected to put his confirmation to a vote next Tuesday.
On Wednesday, lawmakers of both the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic United Party focused on testing the former veteran prosecutor’s will to exercise the greater authority Park has pledged to give her prime minister.
Amid calls for a breakup of what critics see as excessive presidential powers, Park made a campaign pledge to guarantee the prime minister’s Constitutional rights, including the recommendation of candidates for ministers.
Asked by DUP lawmaker Hong Ik-pyo whether he had recommended candidates for the incoming Cabinet, Chung said that he had.
“I promise to faithfully exercise my right to recommend Cabinet members, taking into consideration the many doubts and criticisms about (my weaknesses),” he said.
Responding to a separate question, Chung said he also plans to carry out the prime minister’s right to recommend the dismissals of Cabinet members if they are found to be unfit for their jobs. (Yonhap News)