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Gender Equality Minister-nominee Resigns

Posted February. 25, 2008 03:14,   


Gender Equality Minister-nominee Lee Chun-ho, who is suspected of having been involved in real estate speculation, reportedly expressed she would withdraw from the nomination Sunday.

An official close to Lee Myung-bak said, “I heard that Gender Equality Minister-designate Lee Chun-ho said she would voluntarily resign not to give any burden to the incoming president.”

Lee was to hold a press conference on Sunday evening at the transition committee office to announce her course of action.

Separately, on ongoing controversies over property speculation and thesis plagiarism surrounding some presidential secretaries and Cabinet nominees, Grand National Party Chairman Kang Jae-sup said on Feb. 23, “If the suspicions turn out to be true through parliamentary confirmation hearings, it’s desirable (for President Lee Myung-bak) to take action accordingly.”

In a telephone interview with the Dong-A Ilbo, Kang said, “In a capitalistic society, it’s not right to cast doubt on somebody only because he or she holds large wealth and real estate.” But he added, “If some of the nominees are found to have committed some irregularities, we should boldly replace them.”

“When time presses, sometimes we may fail to properly verify candidates and hence overlook some problems,” he noted. “But the decisions should not be considered permanent. For example, in construction work, initial plans can be changed for the better.”

“As a political party whose survival depends on voters’ support, we cannot but worry about the possible backlash,” he said with the upcoming general elections in mind. “President Lee Myung-bak and the GNP both have the ability to correct wrongs.”

On the liberal United Democratic Party’s move to boycott hearings of some of the Cabinet nominees, however, he flatly denounced the move and said, “Confirmation hearings are to thoroughly screen candidates for high-ranking jobs in the government. It’s not late to make any decisions after conducting hearings over whether they had amassed their wealth illegally or not.”

Asked about Prime Minister-designate Han Seung-soo, Kang said, “Common sense tells he has no problem. The GNP will do its best to confirm his nomination.”

In the meantime, a close aide to President Lee said, “We selected nominees with our own meticulous screening process. It’s unimaginable to replace anyone even before parliamentary confirmation hearings. We expect that complete verification will be carried out in the hearings.”