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Moon Jae-in administration names new appointees on Fridays

Moon Jae-in administration names new appointees on Fridays

Posted July. 25, 2020 07:46,   

Updated July. 25, 2020 07:46


“Announcing new appointees on Fridays has now become formula.” This is how the ruling party reacted to the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae’s naming of one senior secretary and four secretaries on Friday. Cheong Wa Dae has almost always been announcing most of its new appointees including minister-level officials on Fridays.

Cheong Wa Dae announced in the latest reshuffle the chief of the National Intelligence Service, the Unification Ministry, and presidential National Security Office head on July 3, which was Friday. The presidential office also announced the chair of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission and the chief of the National Police Agency on June 26, which was also Friday. Earlier, it announced the new chief of the Office of the Government Policy Coordination, who is a minister-level official on May 8 this year, which was Friday, and new Cabinet members in the most recent major reshuffle of the Cabinet on a Friday in August last year.

“Coincidently, HR reshuffles tend to happen mostly on Friday due to HR process,” said a source in the presidential office. The source indicated that as the presidential office and the government hold meetings at the beginning of a week, decisions are often made through the final selection by President Moon Jae-in on Thursday afternoon, Friday, or Sunday.

However, critics say that the presidential office intentionally chooses to announce its new appointees on Friday to minimize negative public opinion and repercussions. Political circles in the U.S. also call Friday “Take out the Trash Day.” The expression‎ thus mocks the practice where in the government releases negative news en masse on Friday because fewer people tend to read newspapers on Friday.

The government has announced not only personnel reshuffles but also sensitive government policies on Friday. The Education Ministry announced a ‘“revised plan on the College Scholastic Ability Test for 2020” on August 17, 2018, which was Friday, while the Health and Welfare Ministry announced a revision to the national pension system on December 14, 2018. The government also released detailed materials regarding “documents on Martial Law order,” which had been drafted by the Defense Security Command (from the Park Geun-hye administration) on July 20, 2018, and the replacements of Deputy Prime Minister for Economy Kim Dong-yeon and Senior Presidential Secretary for Policy Chang Ha-sung on November 9, 2018, which were Fridays.

Hyung-Jun Hwang constant25@donga.com