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Minister-nominees for Unification and Environment Resign

Minister-nominees for Unification and Environment Resign

Posted February. 28, 2008 03:15,   


Unification Minister-designate Nam Joo-hong and Environment Minister-designate Park Eun-kyung withdrew their nominations on Wednesday. The two nominees had been criticized for alleged speculative real estate trading and tax evasion.

Meanwhile, Byun Do-yoon, vice-president of the Korean Council on Social Welfare Education, was named as a replacement for Gender Equality Minister-designate Lee Choon-ho, who had already withdrawn her nomination on Sunday. Byun has served as the head of Seoul Women’s Plaza, advisor to the History of Women Exhibition Hall, director of the Seoul YWCA, and member of the social-educational policy committee at the Korea YMCA.

"President Lee Myung-bak, who contemplated the matter all morning, decided to accept their resignations for the greater good,” said presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan at a news conference. “The two minister-designates courageously expressed their desire to step down in order not to be a burden to the president."

“The two made a difficult decision for the sake of the new government,” President Lee was quoted as saying by spokesman Lee. Citing the resignation of the two nominees, President Lee also urged the National Assembly to approve the appointment of the prime minister for the sake of the new government, which is facing a power vacuum.

A total of three minister-nominees have stepped down even prior to taking office. All two women minister-nominees have resigned.

The move came after Grand National Party Chairman Kang Jae-sup and the party`s floor leader, Ahn Sang-soo, advised President Lee to withdraw the two disputed cabinet nominees during a breakfast meeting.

The United Democratic Party had strongly opposed the appointment of the two nominees on the grounds that Nam’s children have dual citizenship, his wife was allegedly involved in real estate speculation, and he and his wife had received extra tax credits for education fees. Meanwhile, Park owns farmland in Gimpo, which can be owned only by those who engage in farming, was allegedly involved in real estate speculation, falsified her residential address, and unlawfully transferred inheritances.

Meanwhile, President Lee named Yang Yoo-suk, professor of the Graduate School of International Studies at Chung-Ang University, to be the broadcasting and telecommunication secretary. Yang will work under the supervision of the senior presidential secretary for national policy planning.

Kim Doo-woo, chief editorial writer for the JoongAng Ilbo, was also tapped to be assistant secretary for political affairs. Presidential spokesman Lee said that Kim will be in charge of opposition parties and non-political figures as well as participate in writing speeches.