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Han Duck-soo approved as PM by National Assembly

Posted May. 21, 2022 07:33,   

Updated May. 21, 2022 07:33


Prime Minister nominee Han Duck-soo has been confirmed by the National Assembly, Friday or 47th day after his nomination. Han's nomination was approved in a 208-36 vote. As a result, the National Assembly’s disapproval of his nomination as the first Prime Minister of the new administration has been narrowly avoided. Originally, majority in the main opposition Democratic Party deemed Han to be unqualified, but the opposition party held heated debate without reservation at a general meeting of its lawmakers prior to the vote, and decided to adopt ‘approval of his nomination as its party line.’ The opinion among moderate members of the party, who believe that denying his nomination could backfire and could be considered the party’s act of obstruction against the new administration, has gained ground.

It is very fortunate that the ruling and opposition parties, which were strongly opposed with each other over the Prime Minister-nominee’s confirmation, have narrowed differences and reached agreement at last minute. Notably, President Yoon Suk-yeol pushed ahead with the appointment of Han Dong-hoon as justice minister only a day after urging the National Assembly to extend non-partisan support during his speech at the parliament, causing anger to the opposition party. But the Democratic Party adopted his confirmation as its official party line, which is considered the party’s support of the new Yoon administration that is taking just the first steps. Hopefully, the move will enable the rival parties to start pursuing politics of cooperation. President Yoon is also advised to take a measure corresponding to the opposition party’s partial cooperation, including withdrawal of the nomination of health and welfare minister nominee Jeong Ho-yeong, who is embroiled in controversy over his ‘alleged use of influence in his children’s medical school admission.

President Yoon has said, “Han was nominated as prime minister with the intention to pursue politics of cooperation in the first place.” In his speech at the National Assembly, Yoon said, “True free democracy is parliamentarism.” The grave situation at present is that the new administration is not in a situation to be able to implement state administration properly without getting cooperation from the opposition party controlling 167 seats in the National Assembly. While the Democratic Party should not be hindering the new administration’s every bid to introduce diverse new policy measures only to secure its political gains, the new government should also the National Assembly’s confirmation of Han’s nomination nonetheless should have been affected by political calculations by his rival parties. But more fundamentally, it is rather a result of public opinion suggesting that the opposition party should enable the new administration to respond to general crises including snowballing national debt and household debts, as well as conflict between the U.S. and China, and three crises namely inflation, interest rate and exchange rate. Prime Minister Han should never forget this even for a single moment. As Han pledged himself, he should work hard to bring about agreement by the rival parties and to elbow through the crises in Korea and worldwide.