GNP asks to vet Lee’s reshuffle in advance

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GNP asks to vet Lee’s reshuffle in advance

The leadership of the Grand National Party has asked the Blue House to consult with it before reshuffling the cabinet in order to ensure the selections will be “acceptable to the public,” senior ruling party officials told the JoongAng Ilbo.

“During the senior leaders’ meeting on Monday, the leadership reached an agreement that the Blue House must consult with the party beforehand about personnel appointments,” a top ruling party official told the JoongAng Ilbo. “We also agreed that the choices should be acceptable to the public.”

Other participants in the meeting quoted Representative Hong Joon-pyo as being adamant about the matter. “We will face a catastrophe if the government makes wrong choices in the reshuffle,” Hong was quoted as saying. “It will be hard for the party if those who were sacked return in new posts.”

While no specific names were mentioned, people who attended the meeting said concerns were raised about a return of Ambassador to China Yu Woo-ik, who served as Lee’s first presidential chief of staff, and Lee Dong-kwan, former senior secretary to the president for public affairs.

Speculations were high that Yu might be named the new head of the Board of Audit and Inspection, and Lee is a candidate to become the next minister of culture, sports and tourism.

Some key posts in the administration have been left vacant for months after Lee’s ill-fated cabinet reshuffle of Aug. 8. Prime Minister-nominee Kim Tae-ho, Culture Minister-nominee Shin Jae-min and Knowledge Economy Minister-nominee Lee Jae-hoon all bowed out after confirmation hearings disclosed illegalities and other skeletons in their closets. While President Lee appointed Kim Hwang-sik as prime minister, the two ministerial posts have yet to be filled.

Another senior official confirmed that GNP Chairman Ahn Sang-soo had delivered the party’s plea to the Blue House. “Since the local election defeat in June, the ruling party tried to win back the public’s trust, but everything was lost with the Aug. 8 cabinet reshuffle,” the official said.


By Ko Jung-ae, Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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