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Chief of Staff Chung tells presidential secretaries to stay away from politics

Chief of Staff Chung tells presidential secretaries to stay away from politics

Posted April. 25, 2024 08:05,   

Updated April. 25, 2024 08:05


Presidential Chief of Staff Chung Jin-suk took a proactive stance in clarifying the administration's governance principles in his first meeting with chief secretaries on Wednesday. He stated, “It is not the right thing to do if any of us working at the presidential office lets inaccurate information spread out of the office. His clear intent was to establish the administration’s governance principles and minimize any confusion arising from mixed signals sent when comments from senior staff members are leaked regarding political affairs such as personnel nomination and policy decisions. This proactive approach directly responds to recent controversies over decision-making processes, which have been criticized for being too opaque. In the meeting held on Wednesday morning at the presidential office in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul, Chief of Staff Chung reiterated that the responsibility of the presidential office lies in getting work done for the administration, not speaking on its behalf, adding, “It is not secretaries but the President who deals with governance and politics in the office.” He also emphasized that secretaries should seamlessly assist the president and that presidential decisions are the final.

Chief of Staff Chung’s comments presumably have something to do with the controversy over “those powerful behind the scenes,” which followed the news report that President Yoon considered nominating opposition politicians - former SMEs and Startups Minister Park Young-sun and former head of the Institute for Democracy Yang Jung-chul - as prime minister and chief of staff, respectively. Back then, the presidential office officially denied some media reports. Still, some presidential office staff members who are close to President Yoon Suk Yeol but not directly related to personnel affairs made contradicting remarks, admitting that it is true that the nomination plan was discussed at the table.

“As Chief of Staff Chung was a five-term lawmaker, floor leader, and leader of the emergency planning committee, he is likely to seek tighter control of the organization compared to his predecessors who worked as governmental officials,” a ruling party insider said. “Chief of Staff Chung will thoroughly review internal decision-making procedures.” Ruling party leaders pointed out that personnel decisions are made not by front-line staff members of the presidential office but by a small group of staff close to the president.

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