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Ex-Seoul Nat’l Univ. Pres. Named Prime Minister

Posted September. 04, 2009 08:42,   


Former Seoul National University President Chung Un-chan was nominated for prime minister yesterday in a Cabinet reshuffle.

If confirmed by parliament, Chung will replace incumbent Han Seung-soo, who has served at the post for around 18 months.

In addition, President Lee Myung-bak replaced five ministers and one vice minister.

Other appointments included Lee Kwi-nam’s promotion from vice justice minister to minister. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Kim Tae-young was named defense minister, ruling party lawmaker Choi Kyoung-hwan was appointed knowledge economy minister, lawmaker Yim Tae-hee labor minister, and Seoul National University professor Paik Hee-young gender equality minister.

Two-term lawmaker Joo Ho-young was named minister without portfolio, reviving a post that was abolished 11 years ago.

Prime Minister-designate Chung is a reform-minded scholar who was once considered a presidential hopeful before the 2007 election. His nomination is expected to significantly affect the competition in the ruling party for the 2012 presidential election.

Chung has also criticized the incumbent administration’s economic policy, so how he will put President Lee’s administrative philosophy into practice is attracting attention.

“As one of Korea’s representative economic scholars who once served as president of Seoul National University, the prime minister-designate has shown outstanding performance in organizational management and is expected to exhibit a leadership of tolerance and harmony in pursuing major state tasks through a unique friendliness and broad international human networks,” a presidential spokeswoman said of Chung.

“He is also expected to tap his experience in providing constructive alternatives and advice to the Lee Myung-bak administration to get the best out of each ministry and substantially implement the administration’s moderate, pragmatic and pro-people policies.”