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Chief Justice Appointee Losing Support

Posted November. 17, 2006 06:55,   


On November 16, the National Assembly returned to normal after the stalemate over the appointment of Jeon Hyo-suk as Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court.

Kim Han-gil and Kim Hyeong-o, floor leaders of the ruling Uri Party and the main opposition Grand National Party, respectively met earlier in the day to agree that the appointment of Jeon will be postponed until the end of the month. On the same day, confirmation hearings for Song Min-sun, the appointee for foreign minister, and Kim Jang-su, the appointee for defense minister, started.

It is unlikely that the ruling and opposition parties’ positions on Jeon will change in the near future, further delaying the passage of the appointment motion on Jeon.

It was on September 7 that the motion on Jeon was submitted to the National Assembly and on September 15 that the former head of the Constitutional Court Yoon Young-cheol retired, leaving the post open. And now it has been three months since the top job went unfilled. The long void of the chief justice position is becoming a burden on Cheong Wa Dae and the Uri Party.

But there is no way for them to pass a motion on their own. The GNP is poised to flex its muscle to block passage, and the minor opposition parties also will not cooperate with the ruling party as long as the GNP remains vehemently opposed to the passage.

There are some predictions that the ruling party has begun to look for an alternative to Jeon. Regarding this, Joo Ho-young, the GNP’s information rep. pointed out that the agreement on the schedule of the National Assembly session between the floor leaders of the two parties states that the Uri Party and GNP will consult to deal with the appointment of the head of the Court by November 29, and said that it should be noted that there is no mention of Jeon.

Kim, the floor leader of the GNP, went on to say that there is even some talk that even though Jeon has shown her intention to step down, Cheong Wa Dae is blocking her move.

In some quarters of the Uri Party, there is complaining that they are tired of picking up the messes over the appointments Cheong Wa Dae made.

Jo Gyeong-tae, a lawmaker of the ruling party, said that Jeon herself should make a decision now and she should not be allowed to hold back the state affairs from moving on any more. One member of the emergency task force said that Jeon is already damaged goods.

There are voices calling for Jeon to step down herself from other opposition parties as well. Kim Hyo-seok, floor leader of the Democratic Party, told the CBS radio that Jeon’s voluntary withdrawal is the most realistic option.

It is also noteworthy that President Roh Moo-hyun hasn’t appointed Jeon to be a judge of the Constitutional Court, a prerequisite for Jeon to be appointed to head the Court. The ball is now in Jeon’s court, who has suddenly become an outcast.