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Presidential office does not deny speculation on new justice minister nominee

Presidential office does not deny speculation on new justice minister nominee

Posted June. 27, 2019 07:35,   

Updated June. 27, 2019 07:35


The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said on Wednesday that it had nothing to confirm‎ before making a final decision on the possibility that President Moon Jae-in will nominate Cho Kuk, senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, as justice minister. Considering that Cheong Wa Dae has immediately denied inaccurate media reports on the president’s personnel affairs, it seems that the screening process for Cho’s nomination is already under way. Opposition parties, including the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, are preparing to launch a massive political offensive against Cho’s nomination, calling it a “declaration of war” on them.

Asked whether the senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, who is responsible for screening minister candidates, would screen himself if he becomes one, a Cheong Wa Dae official refused to answer the question based on an assumption. Cho neither confirmed nor denied the possibility at an internal meeting.

Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling Democratic Party seem to consider Cho’s nomination as justice minister a done deal. A ruling party lawmaker said that President Moon has a strong will to continue his reform drive until the end of his term in office and thus wants to put Cho on the post of justice minister.

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party strongly opposed Cho’s possible nomination. “If Cho’s entry into the Cabinet comes a reality, it would be a kind of declaration of war that the Moon administration will not stop its fast-track dictatorship train,” said Na Kyung-won, the party’s floor leader. She criticized that Yoon Seok-youl, the prosecutor-general nominee, would be at the forefront of “oppressing” the opposition, with Cho controlling the move behind him.

Sang-Jun Han alwaysj@donga.com