Posted September. 29, 2009 08:27,
The National Assembly yesterday confirmed Chung Un-chan as prime minister despite a walkout by opposition lawmakers.
The approval came 25 days after President Lee Myung-bak picked the former Seoul National University president to succeed Han Seung-soo.
After his confirmation, Chung told reporters at the Central Government Complex in Seoul, I will keep in mind my mothers last request to think of the hardships of workers, adding, In assisting the president and uniting the Cabinet, I will do my best to overcome the economic crisis, revive the peoples livelihood as soon as possible, and consolidate public sentiment.
Chung was approved in a 164-9 vote, with three abstentions and one invalid vote.
Lawmakers of the main opposition Democratic Party, the minor conservative Liberty Forward Party, and the progressive Democratic Labor Party walked out en masse when the voting began, however, saying Chung is unqualified to serve as prime minister.
Prior to the vote, Democratic Party lawmakers Kang Un-tae and Choi Jae-sung in plenary speeches expressed opposition to Chungs appointment, citing his dual role as a Seoul National professor and adviser to a private company, alleged bribe-taking, and suspected tax evasion.
They also blasted the ruling Grand National Partys submission of the bill on his confirmation without consulting the opposition.
Ruling party lawmaker Kwon Kyung-suk said, however, There were errors and mistakes (in the confirmation process) but they were unintentional.