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President Names New Cabinet Members

Posted July. 04, 2006 03:38,   


President Roh Moo-hyun nominated new cabinet members on Monday. Kwon O-kyu (54), the current chief secretary for national policy, was nominated as the deputy prime minister for economy, and Kim Byung-jun (52), a former chief secretary for national policy was named as the deputy prime minister for education.

Current Minister for Planning and Budget Byeon Yang-kyoon (57) will succeed Kim, and deputy minister Jang Byung-wan (54) will be named head of the ministry. The post of Commissioner of National Tax Service will be filled by 52-year-old Jeon Gun-pyo, the current Deputy Commissioner.

Kim’s nomination for Education Minister engendered controversy among both ruling and opposition parties. Some members of the ruling Uri Party complained about a “hard-line cabinet shake-up,” referring to Mr. Kim’s controversial comment on taxation. The party’s backlash against the nomination is expected to bring about disputes at the National Assembly’s nomination hearing and might provoke conflicts between the party and the government.

The nominee for chief secretary for national policy Byeon will be sworn into office upon receiving the appointment letter, as he is not required to go through a hearing. An acting minister will serve as the head of the Ministry of Planning and Budget until the nominee, Jang, is officially appointed.

The Ministry of Finance and Economy and Ministry of Education will be run by the current ministers until the new nominees are officially appointed.

Regarding the Uri Party’s opposition to the nomination of Mr. Kim, Senior Secretary to the President for Personnel Affairs Park Nam-chun said, “Mr. Kim’s real estate policy should not be labeled as a failure, and it is unclear if he is responsible for tax policies.” He added that “Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook persuaded opposing lawmakers and as far as I understand, Lee Byeong-wan, presidential chief of staff also changed opinions with party members.”

Responding to accusations that the prime minister could not fully exercise her nomination rights, he said, “We explained several times to the prime minister the procedure of cabinet shake-up.”

Yeon-Wook Jung jyw11@donga.com