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Kang and Yoon Are Leading Candidates to Succeed Lee Hun-jae

Kang and Yoon Are Leading Candidates to Succeed Lee Hun-jae

Posted March. 08, 2005 22:43,   


The successor to Lee Hun-jae as the minister of the economy seems to have come down to ruling Uri Party lawmaker Kang Bong-gyun and Chief Executive of the Financial Supervisory Committee Yoon Jeng-hyun. Cheong Wa Dae does not deny this.

Kang has gained a broad support from the ruling Uri Party. Reports indicate that leaders of the party recommended Rep. Kang for the position on March 8 in an unofficial decision. Kang served as an economic special envoy when President Roh Moo-hyun was waiting to take over the presidency, and he also has hands-on experience in the economic sector as presidential chief secretary for the economy and the minister of Finance and Economy. But the lawmaker himself showed reluctance to take the position, saying, “Now is the time to select a new face.”

Meanwhile, Yoon, is favored by officials in economic departments including the Ministry of Finance and Economy since he is not only molded from the same vein of traditional economic officials, but that he also has a strong driving force.

The ruling Uri party will dominate both the government and the cabinet if lawmaker Kang is appointed for the position because it already holds the most positions in the cabinet. His appointment will bring the number of cabinet members from the Uri party to seven, adding to Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan, Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Human Resources Kim Jin-pyo, Standing Commissioner of the National Security Council and Minister of Unification Chung Dong-young, Responsible Minister for social sectors and Ministry of Health and Welfare Kim Guen-tae, Minister of Culture and Tourism Chung Dong-chea, and Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Park Hong-su, which accounts for more than one-third of all cabinet members.

The ruling party will occupy four seats among five responsible ministry seats, excluding Minister of Science and Technology Oh Myung if lawmaker Kang is selected. That could be a political burden for the government.

Commissioner Yoon also has close ties with President Roh. The Commissioner was able to build a close relationship with the president since he is the brother-in-law of the late Lee Soo-in, who had been a political colleague of the president’s in the past.

On the other hand, Minister of Office for Government Policy Coordination Han Duck-soo has also been mentioned for the position, but a relevant official of the office of the prime minister said, “The prime minister is unlikely to recommend director Han since he feels a heavy heart for the phrase: ‘a prime minister with real power.’”

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com