PM designate likely to face hard questions

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PM designate likely to face hard questions

Opposition parties yesterday vowed to bring up draft-dodging and influence-peddling allegations concerning prime minister-designate Kim Hwang-sik during his two-day confirmation hearing, which starts today.

The opposition parties say the move is simply an effort to verify that Kim is qualified for the post and that he has solid ethics.

The prime minister’s seat has been vacant for more than a month, since prime minister-designate Kim Tae-ho gave up his nomination on Aug. 29 after facing mounting pressure from opposition parties to drop out due to corruption allegations.

These hearings, the observers say, will determine whether the Lee Myung-bak administration will be able to end the controversy over his nominations, which have dominated the political scene for more than a month. The prime minister’s office anticipates that the confirmation hearings for Kim Hwang-sik will go well, but opposition Democratic Party floor leader Park Jie-won has vowed to conduct what he called a “microscopic examination” of Kim.

Kim, head of the Board of Audit and Inspection and a former Supreme Court justice, faces allegations that he intentionally dodged mandatory military service. Kim was exempt from military service in 1972 because of anisometropia, a condition in which vision differs by a wide margin in the two eyes. But Representative Lim Young-Ho of the minor opposition Liberty Forward Party has questioned the validity of the test.

Kim said he learned that he suffers from the eye disorder in March 1972 and that he was exempt from military service because of it. Kim had his eyesight checked again on Monday and submitted the latest eye exam record yesterday to the National Assembly.

By Kim Mi-ju, Chae Byung-geon []
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