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An Outspoken Lawmaker’s Cabinet Chances

Posted January. 03, 2006 03:04,   


Because of Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan’s support, a cabinet appointment for Rep. Yoo Si-min’s appeared all but certain. But his name was not on the list of new cabinet appointees announced on January 2.

The omission does not mean that President Roh Moo-hyun’s trust in Yoo has faded in any way, however. The senior secretary to the president on personnel affairs, Kim Wan-ki, said in a briefing, “As long as Yoo represents the reform-minded elements in the president’s party, his appointment will be favorably reviewed. The president thinks that Yoo deserves an opportunity to serve in the cabinet.”

An official in Cheong Wa Dae offered his view on the matter by saying, “In the face of protests from his own party, President Roh insists on having Yoo in his cabinet because the president recognizes Yoo’s role in the party just like former ministers Chung Dong-young and Kim Geun-tae.” To put it differently, the Cheong Wa Dae official is implying that the president has the next presidential election in his mind and that he intends to let some promising members of his party compete freely with one another.

In addition, the president must have considered the loyalty shown by reform-minded members in his party. Since Yoo said, “No one is more loyal to the president than me,” the chances are high that such loyalty could have affected the president’s decision.

However, the Uri Party still worries that Yoo’s appointment might shave more than five percent off its public support numbers. “Yoo’s appointment might tip public opinion against the party,” said Rep. Kim Young-choon of the Uri Party.

Coupled with low public support, Yoo’s outspoken speaking style and rash behavior add to the worries of those opposing the lawmaker’s nomination. “If President Roh keeps trying to put Yoo in his cabinet, the party could fall apart,” said a centrist member of the governing Uri Party.