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Reshuffling is expected, only scope and timing not determined

Reshuffling is expected, only scope and timing not determined

Posted April. 26, 2014 04:39,   


Due to the administration’s inability in handling the Sewol accident, demands for reshuffling is rising, concerning the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

Cheong Wa Dae has already reached a consensus that reshuffling may have to be done before the local elections, considering the public sentiment against the government. Now the problem is the timing and scope of reshuffling because it should not affect the handling of the ferry accident.

An official from the presidential office said on Friday, “All possibilities are open at this point… Let’s wait and see what kind of decision (the president) will make because she understands the importance of this accident better than anyone else and listens to various opinions.”

Some from the ruling party argue that the prime minister should be replaced as soon as possible and it would be better if the decision is made faster. An official from the ruling party said, “It is desirable to replace the prime minister for a symbolic purpose before moving from the rescue phase to the completion phase.” People supporting this option argue that since the prime minister has lost people’s trust, appointing a new prime minister to handle the completion phase can be more effective.

Another official said, “As the salvage of the sunken ship begins in earnest, the president should release a statement to the nation regarding the accident and replace the prime minister.” This way, the president will be able to show her willingness to renew her cabinet while making an apology to the nation.

Regarding public hearings for new nominees, which can be a concern for the ruling party, one Saenuri lawmaker said, “Under the current circumstances of the unprecedented national disaster, it would be difficult for the opposition parties to nitpick at nominees and politically offend (the ruling party) at a hearing.”

If this option of replacing the prime minister first is chosen, the reshuffling is likely to be conducted step by step. Another official from the ruling party said, “If too many ministers are replaced before the completion phase, the public offices may be faltering. And because it is better for a new prime minister to recommend members of a new cabinet, completing the reshuffling after the local elections is also good.” However, in this case, critics may say the administration is trying to limit the scope of reshuffling to the replacement of prime minister only.

The presidential office is also considering a medium scale reshuffling including the prime minister office in mid-May, in which the administration will announce a large scale recovery plan comparable to the overall reorganization of the government and show its willingness to execute the plan through reshuffling. In this case, it is practically impossible to hold public hearings before the upcoming local elections, so that the ruling party can settle the public sentiment through reshuffling while lightening the burden of public hearings.

There are various opinions about who in the cabinet should be replaced. Many argue that it is inevitable to replace ministers of Safety and Administration, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and Education. However, others say it is more reasonable to replace the minister of Strategy and Finance rather than the ministers of Safety and Administration, and Maritime Affairs and Fisheries who have been appointed only for about a month.