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Female Lawmakers Mulled for Cabinet Posts

Posted June. 21, 2010 13:04,   


With a Cabinet reshuffle highly likely soon as announced by President Lee Myung-bak, the emergence of female lawmakers as candidates for plum positions is drawing attention.

Projections say a few party members will be named to the Cabinet given the need for communication among the ruling party, government and presidential office in the aftermath of the party’s humiliating defeat in the June 2 local elections and the need to nurture talent within the party.

Rumors of women joining the Cabinet are growing. Rep. Na Kyung-won, who defeated three-time lawmaker Won Hee-ryong in the party primary for Seoul mayor, is likely a candidate for culture, sports and tourism minister.

A former leading member of the Culture, Sports, Tourism, Broadcasting and Communications Committee of the National Assembly, Na was a major figure in handling key matters such as media law. She is also considered an expert in policy promotion based on her experience as party spokeswoman.

Rep. Chin Soo-hee could succeed Jeon Jae-hee as health and welfare minister. Jeon will complete the second year of her second term in August.

A close aide to Anti-corruption and Civil Rights Commission Chairman Lee Jae-oh, a key member of the pro-Lee Myung-bak group in the party, Chin has developed significant interest in childcare and welfare matters since her first term as lawmaker. She is recognized for running the party think-tank Yoido Institute and considered an apt coordinator for the party, government and presidential office on welfare issues, a key area of focus for the administration.

Unification and diplomacy expert Jung Ok-im, who is in her first term as a proportional representative lawmaker, is a likely candidate for unification minister. She accompanied the president to the Asia Security Summit in Singapore early this month.

Among male lawmakers, Rep. Won Hee-ryong is a likely candidate for environment minister given his commitment to the environment, including “low carbon green growth.” He would have to leave his position, however, as the chairman of the National Assembly`s Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee in the year’s second half if he joins the Cabinet.

Former ruling party secretary-general Chang Kwang-keun, who is in his third term and a key member of the pro-Lee group in the party, is also being considered for the Cabinet. He helped handle “troublesome” matters in the face of the main opposition party’s strong offensive, especially after the death of former President Roh Moo-hyun.

Chang could also succeed the chairman of the National Assembly’s Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs Committee, Song Kwang-ho, one year later.