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Movement Growing to Fire Finance Minister Kang

Posted October. 28, 2008 09:12,   


The ruling Grand National Party is pushing its drive to oust Strategy and Finance Minister Kang Man-soo.

A series of government measures have failed to ease financial jitters, leading party lawmakers to mention the name of Lee Hun-jae, former chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission and finance and economy minister.

In a radio interview, party floor leader Hong Joon-pyo said yesterday, “I hope the government will chose an influential economics expert like former Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hun-jae, regardless of political orientation, and relieve Koreans from financial fears if a Cabinet reshuffle ensues.”

“I like Lee’s leadership. To handle recent financial difficulties, the economic policymaker in charge of economic affairs should have leadership strong enough to immediately affect the entire economy.”

Hong apparently mentioned Lee’s name out of a belief that recent financial difficulties can be efficiently handled by a person with strong leadership, not because he wants the government to pick Lee.

Hong said former Vice Finance Minister Kim Seok-dong, now the director of Nonghyup Economic Research Institute, has significant factors in common with Lee. Kim has urged aggressive state intervention when a nation faces an economic crisis.

Certain party lawmakers call Lee the best candidate to replace Kang, who has failed to inspire trust in the market. Others say, however, that the party will not agree to naming Lee since he worked for leftist administrations for ten years and with ruling party lawmakers attempting to join the Cabinet by the end of the year.

At a luncheon with party lawmakers after a memorial service for former President Park Chung-hee, former party chairwoman Park Geun-hye said, “Trust is the most significant factor in the economy. Money is not flowing in the market since investors do not trust the government.”

After the general meeting of the National Assembly, she declined to directly express her opinion, saying, “President Lee is in charge of personnel management. Any decision should be made by him.”