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Ministers Leaving for Election Runs

Posted February. 27, 2006 03:00,   


Regarding the cabinet reshuffle occurring early next month, Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan said yesterday that “four or five new ministers will be included in a reconstituted cabinet.”

Lee made an appearance on the KBS1 TV show “Sunday Checkup” yesterday and said, “Several ministers have expressed their willingness to resign because of their plans to run in the upcoming local elections,” adding, “The number of ministers who are certain to leave is three, and one or two more ministers could be added.”

Regarding this, it was reported that Oh Young-kyo, minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs, Oh Keo-don, minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and Lee Jae-yong, the minister of the Environment are leaving office to run in governor’s election of Chungnam Province and the Busan, Daegu mayoral elections respectively.

In addition, Chin Dae-je, Minister of Information and Communication, is likely to leave office, with many ruling Uri Party lawmakers calling for Chin to run in the governor’s election of Gyeonggi Province. On the other hand, Chung Dong-chea, minister of Culture and Tourism, is also expected to leave. But this is not due to the elections.

Meanwhile, with respect to candidates for appointment, there is the conclusion that government officials will take over the positions. Even though some ruling Uri Party lawmakers argue that since all of leaving ministers are former politicians, it should be politicians who are named as their successors, high-ranking officials from the prime minister’s office said, “The places must be filled by those who have experience and professionalism in implementing policies in each particular sector.”

Gwon O-ryong, vice minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs, is spotlighted as a successor to Oh Young-kyo, minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs, and Lee Mi-kyung, a ruling Uri Party lawmaker, is also being recommended as the new minister of Environment.

On the other hand, there is speculation that capable presidential secretaries such as Kim Wan-gi, the presidential secretary of personnel affairs, and Lee Yong-seop, the presidential secretary of reform management, will run in the Gwangju mayoral elections and the governor’s election of Jeonnam Province, respectively.

“We can’t rule out the possibility that secretaries could run in the election,” said a high-ranking official from Cheong Wa Dae. “Even though they are mulling over the question now, a strong push from president and the party will make them decide quickly.”

Min-Hyuk Park mhpark@donga.com jyw11@donga.com