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Analysis of new gov`t lineup for vice ministers

Posted April. 02, 2001 18:35,   


The consensus is that the shuffle of vice ministers and other officials of equivalent level on Sunday was aimed at stabilizing the bureaucracy. Out of 21 appointees, 14 were promoted from within. This was a sharp contrast to the recruitment of many outsiders into the cabinet on Mar. 26. The rest of the appointees were also chosen from among career civil servants, although outside of the ministries concerned.

The move appears to be designed to overcome the disaffection and uncertainty felt by most public servants upon the cabinet shakeup. Even within the ruling party, doubts were raised as to the leadership and competency of the politicians-turned- department heads and it was deemed necessary to foster a favorable atmosphere for the greater involvement of career officials in the successful implementation of reform.

The latest appointments were unusually extensive, affecting 11 out of 19 vice ministers of the central government. Of 41 senior officials at the deputy minister level, 21 were replaced. The move apparently reflected a deep concern about refreshing ``the climate for vigorous public administration.``

Changes among the deputy chiefs of the ministries in charge of health and welfare and foreign affairs and defense were meant in part to call the predecessors to account for their inept handling of the medical insurance system and the U.S. plan for a national missile defense.

The ministry of labor now has a woman as its vice minister. The latest shuffle was characterized by consideration for equitable and widespread distribution of posts based on place of origin and to see that no minister and vice minister in a single department came from the same school or hometown. Finance-Economy Minister Jin Nyum hails from North Cholla Province so a Seoulite who graduated from Kyonggi High School, Kim Jin-Pyo, was named vice minister. Defense Minister Kim Dong-Shin comes from Kwangju, South Cholla Province, and Vice Minister Kwon Young-Hyo is a product of South Kyongsang Province.

Such broad-based appointments were based on a recommendation made by the Central Personnel Affairs Commission, and a similar principle should be adopted in all future recruitment efforts according to the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae.

The regional backgrounds of the 21 appointees are as follows: seven from the central region of Seoul, Kyonggi Province and Kangwon Province, six from southwestern provinces, four from southeastern provinces and four from Chungchong provinces.

Yun Seung-Mo ysmo@donga.com