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Pres.-elect Park names close political ally chief of staff

Pres.-elect Park names close political ally chief of staff

Posted February. 19, 2013 04:25,   


President-elect Park Geun-hye named Huh Tae-yeol, a former lawmaker of the ruling Saenuri Party, as her first presidential chief of staff on Monday.

Also nominated was Yoo Min-bong, a professor of SungKyunKwan University, for senior presidential secretary for state affairs planning; Kwak Sang-do, former chief prosecutor at the western branch of the Daegu District Prosecutors’ Office, as senior presidential secretary for civil affairs; and Lee Nam-gi, former CEO of SBS Media Holdings, as senior presidential secretary for public relations.

Huh is a former government official who served three terms as a lawmaker representing northern Busan and Seoul’s Gangseo-eul district. He is considered the oldest member of the pro-Park group with a background of serving as a presidential secretary to two former presidents, Park Chung-hee, the father of the incoming chief executive, and Chun Doo-hwan, from 1974 to 1985. Huh is likely to wield significant power as chairman of a forthcoming personnel committee.

President-elect Park completed the nomination of the three presidential chiefs by designating Huh, 68, as chief of staff, Kim Jang-su, 65, to head the National Security Office, and Park Heung-ryeol, 64, to lead presidential security.

Yoo had long been expected as the choice for senior presidential secretary for state affairs planning because he took the lead in reshuffling the government, selecting major tasks and setting up a roadmap for campaign pledges as a senior member of the presidential transition team. Kwak helped organize the Institute of National Future, a think tank of the incoming president, and served on the transition committee. Lee is an expert on the TV industry given his experience in entertainment shows and news programs as a producer at Tongyang Broadcasting Company. He assisted the president-elect with presidential debates on TV.

All of the presidential secretary nominees are graduates of SungKyunKwan University, from presidential chief of staff to four senior secretaries, inviting criticism. The nominations for the remaining six secretaries, including chief of state affairs, are expected around Wednesday.