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Old Ministers Could Linger in New Gov’t

Posted February. 20, 2008 08:09,   


The presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae and President-elect Lee Myung-bak said yesterday that they will not accept the resignations of incumbent ministers until the new ones are appointed.

This is seen as an attempt to prevent a vacuum in state affairs. If the confrontation between the ruling and main opposition parties over the government reorganization bill remains unchanged, the incoming administration might find it hard to convene Cabinet meetings.

Thus the next government is expected to be run by the new president and incumbent Cabinet members for a considerable amount of time after Lee takes office. The president-elect’s Cabinet nominees will likely remain on standby.

Previous administrations have also had to retain ministers for a few days due to delays in forming a new Cabinet, but ministers from outgoing governments have never worked with their successors due to partisan conflicts.

Park Jae-wan, presidential secretary nominee for political affairs, said, “Ministers of the incumbent administration will maintain their posts until the new Cabinet members are appointed after undergoing parliamentary confirmation hearings.”

Presidential spokesman Cheon Ho-seon added, “Vice ministers and ministers in outgoing governments maintained their posts until the new administrations appointed their replacements. Only then did they resign en bloc to prevent an administrative vacuum. This has been a common practice.”

President-elect Lee has submitted a request for confirmation hearings for his 15 Cabinet nominees to the National Assembly.

If the liberal United Democratic Party rejects the motion, he will have no choice but to appoint his new Cabinet on March 11, 20 days after filing the request.

If this happens, it will likely cause confusion in policy implementation since the heads of ministries subject to closure or merger, such as the Information and Communication Ministry, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry and the Gender Equality and Family Ministry, will also maintain their posts for a while.

ddr@donga.com jin0619@donga.com