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`Cabinet Reshuffle Unlikely Before Lunar New Year`

Posted January. 14, 2009 08:06,   


A Cabinet reshuffle is possible after the Lunar New Year`s holidays, the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae said yesterday.

On growing speculation over an imminent personnel shakeup, presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan told reporters, “Nothing has been discussed officially and no details have been mentioned.”

Calling political reform and the passage of pending bills the most urgent tasks for the government, he added, “The reshuffle is not likely (to come the end of this week or before the Lunar New Year’s holidays) as rumored.”

“The shake-up of the presidential office is different from that of the Cabinet, however. Working-level administrative officials and certain senior presidential secretaries can be replaced whenever necessary.”

One official in Cheong Wa Dae said, “Some in the presidential office say an immediate Cabinet shakeup is required.”

“The reshuffle is highly likely to come next month when the Lee administration marks the first anniversary of its inauguration.”

Nothing is fixed, however, with other presidential officials expecting a change of one or two ministers before the Lunar New Year.

Another official said, “National Tax Service Commissioner Han Sang-ryule could be replaced depending on the results of a probe into his alleged bribery. If he is fired, a figure outside the tax office will replace him.”

yongari@donga.com mhpark@donga.com