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Sweeping Gov`t Reshuffle Imminent

Posted December. 18, 2008 07:26,   


A sweeping government reshuffle is expected in the wake of mass resignations of senior officials at the Education, Science and Technology Ministry and the National Tax Service.

“A personnel shake-up starting with mass resignations of top-level officials at the Education Ministry is likely to expand to all ministries,” a high-ranking official told the Dong-A Ilbo over the phone yesterday. “The Unification Ministry will also replace grade 1 officials.”

“But the final decision on the shake-up will be made by ministers and changes will come in phases. No rules were set on replacing personnel. Ministers can request either mass or partial resignations.”

Of the seven Education Ministry officials who submitted their resignations, two or three will reportedly leave office.

An official in the ruling camp said, “Along with the Education Ministry, the foreign and security-related ministries, which have been criticized for stick to the policies of the previous government, and social affairs-related ministries, which have failed to present effective measures to protect low-income households and other reforms, will be subject to personnel shake-ups.”

Given the economic crisis, however, the government will spare top officials at economy-related ministries from reshuffle for the time being.

“The government has sought personnel changes several times, but delayed them due to external factors such as the general elections and candlelight vigil protests,” another official said. “New officials who understand the new administration’s governing philosophy and values and will sincerely implement key tasks are urgently needed.”

“With the parliamentary passage of the budget bill for next year and pending bills, money and systems needed to overcome the unprecedented economic crisis are being prepared. So the consensus is that this is the time to form ministries with right people.”

Deputy presidential spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye said, however, “Since the inauguration of the administration, certain ministries carried out reshuffles while others didn’t. A personnel shakeup at each ministry is left to the discretion of each minister.”

swpark@donga.com mhpark@donga.com