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Yoon to push ahead with appointment of Foreign Minister and Interior and Safety Minister

Yoon to push ahead with appointment of Foreign Minister and Interior and Safety Minister

Posted May. 12, 2022 07:49,   

Updated May. 12, 2022 07:49


President Yoon Suk-yeol is likely to push ahead with his appointment of Park Jin and Lee Sang-min as foreign minister and interior and safety minister, respectively. Although the National Assembly is yet to approve the appointment of the two candidates, and ruling People Power Party and the main opposition Democratic Party are standing against each other over how to hold the vote to confirm‎ Han Deok-soo as prime minister, President Yoon presses ahead with appointing foreign and interior ministers to address pressing agenda, including summit with U.S. President Biden and assistance for small businesses.

A person familiar with the ruling party said on Wednesday that it is urgent to appoint new ministers, particularly foreign and interior ministers, considering the upcoming visit of President Biden. “We have to begin protecting people’s lives and properties as soon as possible,” said the ruling party’s official, indicating the urgency of the appointment of interior and safety minister, who is in charge of organizing the cabinet meeting scheduled for Thursday to approve a COVID-19 supplementary budget bill. It is expected that prior to the cabinet meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho will formally request the appointment of the two candidates as an acting prime minister, and President Yoon will appoint the candidates.

The Office of President is considering filling the first cabinet meeting, which will be presided over by President Yoon only with the ministers who have been directly appointed by President Yoon. Yoon appointed seven ministers including Deputy Prime Minister Choo on Tuesday. As of now, Yoon’s cabinet consists of eight people, including the president himself. If three more ministerial candidates are appointed, the quorum for the cabinet meeting, 11, will be met solely by the ministers appointed by Yoon, and President Yoon does not have to put up with an “awkward cohabitation” with the ministers appointed back in the former Moon administration.

However, President Yoon is taking a cautious stance with regard to pushing ahead with blanket appointment of candidates whose confirmation hearing reports have not been confirmed yet, including Jeong Ho-young, candidate for the ministry of health. If Yoon presses on appointment of ministers in large quantity, the Democratic Party may strongly resist and hold up indefinitely the approval of prime minister candidate Han. With the June 1 local elections in just few weeks, the ruling party certainly feels burdened by pursuing appointment of one candidate after another. The ruling and opposition party met on Wednesday at the National Assembly to hopefully approve the appointment of Prime Minister candidate Han but did not reach agreement.