Park likely to tap neutral politician as next premier [2015/05/06 17:47]

Following Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo`s offer to resign over a graft scandal, experts said President Park Geun-hye is likely to name a nonpolitician or a politician with a neutral image to the scandal-ridden post. Among the dubbed politicians are Deputy Prime Minister Hwang Woo-yea and former Gyeonggi Province Gov. Kim Moon-soo. Both are likely to pass the parliamentary hearing as Hwang has already done so and Kim is considered to be relatively neutral.

Among the bureaucrats are former Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-hyun. Yoon served as chief of the Financial Supervisory Service during the Roh Moo-hyun administration and Minister of Strategy and Finance during the Lee Myung-bak administration. He was considered as a veteran administrator.

“I think politicians are likely to get nominated (for the Prime Minister),” said Choi Young-jin, professor of Korean politics at Chung-Ang University. “Candidates require parliamentary support -? mostly the ruling party - to get through parliamentary hearings. Plus, the president will need someone who can secure the ruling party`s support in her third year of presidency.”

Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo stepped down late Monday, posing a challenge for the government over the premiership that has been a source of frequent political tension. The president is expected to accept his resignation after she returns. In the meantime, Deputy Prime Minister Choi Kyung-hwan will serve as an acting prime minister.

Lee`s offer of resignation came only 63 days after he took office, potentially marking him the shortest serving prime minister. Five prime ministers or prime minister-designates have so far resigned during the Park administration. Three of them - Kim Yong-joon, Ahn Dae-hee and Moon Chang-keuk - never set foot in the prime minister`s office, as they stepped down before being officially appointed after grilling parliamentary hearings.

“The prime minister`s absence takes a toll on presidency,” said Choi. “One of the prime minister`s major roles is to communicate between the president and the executive branch. It needs to relay the president`s intents to bureaucrats and vice versa,” said Choi.
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