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Pres. Lee’s Partial Cabinet Reshuffle Disappoints

Posted July. 08, 2008 09:20,   


President Lee Myung-bak yesterday conducted a partial reshuffle of the Cabinet, eliciting disappointment from the public, the main opposition and even his ruling Grand National Party.

Ahn Byong-man, chairman of the Presidential Council for National Future and Vision, was appointed education, science and technology minister. Jang Tae-pyong, former chief of a state anti-corruption panel, was nominated to take over the Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry and ruling party lawmaker Jeon Jae-hee the Health, Welfare and Family Affairs Ministry.

President Lee also designated Supreme Court Justice Kim Hwang-sik as chairman of the Board of Audit and Inspection. ChungAng University professor Kim Dae-mo will head the Presidential Commission on Labor, Management and Government.

Vice Strategy and Finance Minister Choi Joong-kyung was replaced with his deputy Kim Dong-su. Ambassador to Israel Shin Gak-soo was named vice foreign affairs and trade minister. Sun Moon University Vice President Kim Jeong-ki was nominated educational adviser to the presidential office.

Min Bong-ki, head of the administrative officials association of Incheon, was named honorary governor of Hwanghae Province in North Korea. Honorary professor Han Won-taek of Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul added the title of honorary governor of South Hamkyong Province, also in the North.

President Lee retained the rest of his Cabinet, including Prime Minister Han Seung-soo who was rumored to be on the chopping block.

The partial reshuffle was a letdown to both the opposition and ruling parties, with both sides warning that the administration will struggle to assuage the public, discuss the opening of parliament and conduct confirmation hearings.

The opposition said the reshuffle was nothing more than empty rhetoric ringing hollow in the face of the candlelight protests, despite the administration’s pledge to reflect the public’s demands in conducting the shakeup.

Spokeswoman Cha Young of the main opposition Democratic Party said, “It seems like the administration has forgotten the crisis after [the Cabinet] offered to resign en masse. The self-serving and arrogant reshuffle clearly failed to meet public expectations.”

A ruling party lawmaker from the Gyeongsang provinces, the party’s support base, also said, “The party demanded a major reshuffle through direct and indirect channels but our request was clearly not reflected.”

Former ruling party lawmaker Kim Deog-ryong was also named special adviser for national unity; former chief of the daily Hankook Ilbo Lee Sung-joon special adviser for press and cultural affairs; and former POSTECH President Park Chan-mo special adviser for science and technology.

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