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GNP Urges Probe into Replacement of Justice and Health Ministers.

GNP Urges Probe into Replacement of Justice and Health Ministers.

Posted July. 12, 2002 22:30,   


The Grand National Party (GNP) raised suspicion over the replacement of Song Jung-ho, former Justice Minister, and Lee Tae-bok, former Health and Welfare Minister, and called for an investigation into the suspicion through the Cabinet Standing Committee. But the presidential office of Chungwadae and the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) dismissed the GNP call as a political offensive, triggering a stir surrounding the recent Cabinet reshuffle.

The GNP is planning to question Chang about her son`s renunciation of the Korean nationality in the upcoming confirmation hearing. In addition, the GNP has decided to submit an impeachment motion against President Kim Dae-jung if its calls for a parliamentary investigation and the independent council system are not accepted due to the opposition of the MDP.

Suh Chung-won, GNP chairman, said yesterday in a meeting with the party officials, "Chungwadae exercised undue pressure on former Justice Minister Song regarding the corruption case involving the President`s son. But Song ignored the pressure upsetting Chungwadae. That is the reason Chungwadae replaced him. And another rumor has it that Chungwadae replaced former Health and Welfare Minister Lee under the pressure from multilateral pharmaceutical companies." He urged a thorough investigation by the National Assembly.

In responses, a high ranking official in Chungwadae said, "The Cabinet reshuffle this time reflected the president`s intention to put a final touch on what the government has done so far. We feel no need to respond to the political offensive."

Lee Nak-yeon, MDP spokesman said, "The GNP should endorse the appointment of the Prime Minister appointee since the public expectation is running high for the first-ever female Prime Minister." Chang Jeon-hyeong, vice spokesman for the MDP also criticized the GNP, saying, "It is a national misfortune that the majority GNP is urging a parliamentary investigation into the right of personnel management, which is the prerogative of the president."

Meanwhile the floor leaders of the Grand National Party and the Millennium Democratic Party yesterday decided to start the confirmation hearing when the government submits a motion regarding the premier`s appointment. The special committee for the confirmation hearing will be chaired by the MDP.

The floor leaders of rival parties also agreed the timetable for the extraordinary session of the National Assembly.

According to the timetable, the National Assembly will open the Standing Committee on the 15th, hold speech session of representatives of negotiation groups on the 18 and 19th, and hold questioning session against the government from the 22nd to 24th.

Sung-Won Park Chol-Hi Lee swpark@donga.com klimt@donga.com