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Personnel appointments are no gift of solace for defeated candidates

Personnel appointments are no gift of solace for defeated candidates

Posted May. 15, 2024 07:47,   

Updated May. 15, 2024 07:47


The presidential office has reportedly launched simultaneous verifications for recent appointments of public institution heads. The appointments have been halted for over five months since the end of last year due to the April 10 general elections, and they are now entering full swing following the conclusion of the elections. Among the 327 public institutions nationwide, terms for 87 institution heads have either already expired or will expire in the first half of this year. Following these appointments, subsequent executive appointments, such as auditors and directors, are scheduled to follow.

With the resumption of public institution appointments, attention is focused on major vacant institution head positions, where names of lawmakers from the People Power Party who either failed to win the recommendation or lost in the elections are already being discussed. Rumors have it both inside and outside the ruling party that many of the defeated candidates are striving to leave an impression on the president and his spouse. Even lawmakers argue that it is customary to care for those who worked hard during difficult elections, not allowing the ruling party candidates to go empty-handed after losing an election.

It is such an eyesore that the defeated candidates from the People Power Party are eyeing public institution head positions after receiving historically poor election results as the ruling party. However, they argue precisely because of such defeats, the presidential office and the ruling party should take extra care of them. Among the defeated candidates this time, there are 55 incumbent lawmakers. Against this backdrop, it is suggested that securing their public posts can help prevent losing votes during the deliberation process in case President Yoon exercises veto power over the Marine Private Chae Special Prosecution Act.

Controversies surrounding parachute appointments (revolving-door personnel appointments) have emerged during changes of administration and every personnel reshuffle. There have been several attempts to introduce a "Public Institution Parachute Prevention Act," but they often fizzled out. President Yoon Suk Yeol also pledged during the presidential election to "eradicate the practice of public institution parachute appointments." Still, the vow went up in smoke at the beginning of the Yoon administration amid controversies over the deliberate "planting" of institution heads appointed by the previous administration.

Controversies surrounding parachute institution heads could be minimized if they possess the professionalism and competence required for their position. However, many of them have been filled out by nonprofessionals. The sheer waste of hundreds of millions of won in taxpayers' money paid to unqualified institution heads and the national losses due to irresponsible management are also significant. A new system, such as the "plum book" in the United States, which publicly lists positions that the president can appoint, would be one of the ways we can introduce and enhance the transparency and accountability of personnel appointments.