Opposition gangs up on unification minister

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Opposition gangs up on unification minister

Opposition lawmakers yesterday jointly sponsored a resolution to recommend the dismissal of Unification Minister Hyun In-taek and submitted it to the National Assembly.

The Democratic, Democratic Labor, Creative Korea and New Progressive (New Jinbo) parties yesterday said in the resolution that Hyun should be replaced because of his poor performance in the job. Two Liberty Forward Party lawmakers and an independent lawmaker joined the 96 liberal lawmakers, achieving a quorum to propose the resolution.

“After he took office in February 2009, Hyun has failed to arrange a single ministerial meeting with North Korea, showing his incompetence in inter-Korean talks,” the resolution said. “He also did not authorize the National Assembly’s committee on inter-Korean relations to visit the Kaesong Industrial Complex, although it was agreed to by the ruling and opposition parties.”

The four opposition parties are to vote on the resolution tomorrow at the main session. The resolution requires a majority vote to pass, but the president has the power to reject it.

While the resolution is backed by 99 lawmakers, it is unclear if representatives from the ruling Grand National Party will cooperate. GNP Chairman Hong Joon-pyo has also demanded that Hyun be replaced, but the Blue House refrained from doing so because it did not want to send a confusing signal to the North.

The resolution to recommend Hyun’s dismissal comes as President Lee Myung-bak is preparing to reshuffle his cabinet. Lee will send three politicians-turned-ministers back to the National Assembly at the end of this month to give them time to prepare for the April general election. It remained unclear as of yesterday if more ministers, including Hyun, would be replaced.

Speculations were high in the Blue House that Lee might replace his unification minister as well as the head of the Ministry for Gender Equality and Family, but no official announcement was made.

The National Assembly will begin audits on state affairs on Sept. 19, and the clock is ticking for the Blue House to carry out a cabinet overhaul if it wants new ministers to attend the hearings. An announcement about personnel changes is expected to come as early as today.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [뉴시스]

野, 현인택 장관 해임건의안 발의

민주당·민주노동당·창조한국당·진보신당 소속 의원들과 자유선진당·무소속 일부 의원 등 야당 소속 의원 99명이 현인택 통일부 장관에 대한 해임건의안을 29일 국회에 제출했다.

민주당 홍영표 원내대변인은 이날 브리핑을 갖고 "99명의 의원은 국무위원 통일부 현 장관의 해임을 위해 헌법 제63조의 규정에 의해 해임건의안을 제출했다"고 밝혔다.

18대 국회 들어 국무위원 해임건의안이 제출된 것은 이번이 처음이다. 홍 원내대변인은 "현 장관은 2009년 2월 제35대 장관으로 취임한 후 남북관계의 안정적 관리에 실패하고 남북 간의 긴장을 고조시키는 등 헌법과 법률에 규정한 통일부 장관의 역할을 전혀 수행하지 않고 있다"며 제출 사유를 밝혔다.

홍 원내대변인은 또 ▲남북 장관급회담을 한 차례도 성사시키지 못하는 등 남북대화에서 보인 무능함 ▲남북협력사업의 상징인 금강산관광 사업의 파국 ▲천안함·연평도 사건을 빌미로 5·24 대북조치를 주도해 남북대결 조장 ▲국회 남북관계발전특별위원회의 개성공단 방문 불허 등을 현 장관의 해임 사유로 제시했다.

이번 해임건의안은 야4당 소속 의원 96명 전원과 선진당 소속인 이용희·이상민 의원, 무소속 중에서 유성엽 의원이 서명해 재적의원 3분의 1 이상인 정족수 99명의 의원이 서명했다.
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