중앙데일리

GNP declines to recognize Chang before confirmation

July 16,2002
Claiming that it would be unconstitutional for the prime minister designate, Chang Sang, to perform her duties before she is confirmed by the National Assembly, Grand National Party figures said Monday that they would not recognize her authority.

"The constitution says that the prime minister is appointed by the president subject to the approval of the National Assembly; there is no such a thing as an acting prime minister," said Park Hee-tae, a senior party adviser. Party spokesman Nam Kyung-pil called for a caretaker system based on the Government Organization Act to oversee government operations before a new prime minister is approved. The party is the largest in the National Assembly, with a near-majority, but it is in opposition to the government of President Kim Dae-jung.

Representative Suh Chung-won refused Ms. Chang's offer to visit the opposition headquarters. Party lawmakers decided to forbid Ms. Chang to attend the National Assembly's government inquiry next week.

Although women groups have welcomed the appointment of Ms. Chang, who would be Korea's first woman prime minister, she has drawn criticism on a series of issues. Her academic background was erroneously stated on her resume on a Web site. Her son gave up Korean nationality for U.S. citizenship and was later exempted from Korean military service. Along with five other professors, Ms. Chang purchased property in Yangju-gun, Gyeonggi province, a transaction that has been called real estate speculation.

The Blue House turned down the opposition's demands. "We cannot bring about a vacuum in government administration," said its spokeswoman, Park Sun-sook.

The Millennium Democratic Party spokesman, Lee Nak-yon, blasted the "insolence" of the Grand National Party for trying to torpedo Ms. Chang's appointment with no better alternative available.

Kim Moo-sung, a GNP representative, resigned Monday as chief of staff for the opposition presidential candidate, Lee Hoi-chang. Mr. Kim said last week that a woman who lacks understanding of defense issues would be an inadequate replacement if President Kim were unable to carry out his duties. The remark enraged the Blue House, the Millennium Democratic Party and woman rights advocates.

He apologized Sunday. "I was only concerned for the president's health," he said. "I had no intention of denigrating women."

by Lee Sang-il, Nam Jeong-ho




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