Battle over prime minister rages on

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Battle over prime minister rages on

The National Assembly postponed its confirmation of Prime Minister-designate Kim Tae-ho after opposition parties fiercely protested Kim’s ethical qualifications, saying he was “unfit” for the office.

“Kim violated at least seven laws, and he committed perjury, which should never happen in a National Assembly confirmation hearing,” Democratic Party floor leader Park Jie-won said yesterday.

To be appointed prime minister, Kim must be confirmed by a majority of votes in a National Assembly session attended by at least half of the Assembly’s 299 members. But before the vote takes place, the committee that oversaw Kim’s confirmation hearing must send a report to the assembly. Opposition members of the committee boycotted a meeting yesterday, preventing a quorum from being assembled, and thus, the report could not be submitted.

Opposition parties, including the main opposition Democratic Party, said they won’t submit the report and vowed to derail Kim’s appointment. They had been negotiating with the ruling Grand National Party over the withdrawal of other cabinet appointments, possibly in a deal to accept Kim as prime minister, but the DP ended those negotiations yesterday.

Yesterday Park said: “President Lee should withdraw his nominations of other ministers who violated any of the five charges - fake residence registrations, tax evasion, evasion of military service, real estate speculation or duplicated passages in academic research.”

Several of the nominees admitted or were accused of such behavior in confirmation hearings this week.

Kim’s hearing committee will meet again on Wednesday, when a plenary session of the assembly is also scheduled. Voting on Kim should take place that day, since the assembly speaker can put the nomination on the floor without the committee report three days after a confirmation hearing.


By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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