It is proving difficult to find a successor to Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon. Five-term lawmaker Chung Sye-kyun is reportedly taking steps for appointment instead of Kim Jin-pyo who was considered be a possible candidate, while some suggest a possibility of Lee remaining in office. The Moon Jae-in administration had planned to appoint the next prime minister along with the successor to former Minister of Justice Cho Kuk by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, President Moon Jae-in replaced three vice ministers Thursday including Customs Commissioner Kim Yeong-mun and Forest Service Commissioner Kim Jae-hyeon. There is a high possibility that they, who were appointed when the Moon administration was inaugurated, will run for the general elections on April 15 next year.
It has been assumed that Prime Minister Lee will run for the general elections for a while now, while several incumbent ministers often appear as strong candidates for the election in constituency polls. This cannot help but distract government officials who tend to be sensitive about their positions. If ministers including the prime minster are subject to a reshuffle, the chances are their focus will shift away from their work and everything will come to a halt. A prolonged reshuffle exacerbates this chaos, leaving national affairs unattended.
The government is in chaos with high-ranking officials and board members of public enterprises stepping down, when it is supposed to have a year-end reflection and plans for a year ahead. The importance of the general elections cannot be dismissed, but, the government should not be distracted by it but rather stay put, firmly grounded, so that people can rest assured and continue to lead their normal lives. The Moon administration needs to stop this chaos by completing the reshuffle as soon as possible and make sure national affairs are taken good care of. In the midst of the former Ulsan Mayor Kim Gi-hyeon scandal, the government must ensure that no public official meddles in the elections.