Opposition cries foul over timing of appointments

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Opposition cries foul over timing of appointments

With no breakthrough in negotiations to get opposition lawmakers to approve government restructuring bills put forward by the incoming administration, Park Geun-hye yesterday went ahead and announced 11 names to complete her first cabinet. The move immediately prompted an outcry from the main opposition Democratic United Party.

“It is extremely regretful,” Representative Park Ki-choon, floor leader of the DUP, said yesterday after the announcement. “Talks were going well behind the scenes, and I wonder if she did this to give no room for change [in her plan].”

Expressing displeasure toward the president-elect’s decision to announce the nominees before the legislature approved the government restructuring bills, the DUP floor leader said it was like “forcing the opposition party to raise a white flag.”

He then asked Park to give the ruling Saenuri Party some negotiation power, instead of ordering them to keep her original plan.

The DUP’s floor leader vowed yesterday that Park’s nominees will be grilled harshly at the confirmation hearings. The DUP also showed concern yesterday that Park has not appointed a single official in her presidential secretariat.

On Jan. 15, Park announced a major government restructuring plan by creating two new ministries. On Jan. 30, the ruling party submitted bills to realize her vision of 17 ministries to the National Assembly, but no progress was made to pass the plan.

The National Assembly will have a voting session today, which is the self-imposed deadline of the legislature to finalize the government restructuring. But it remains to be seen if the bills will be approved in time for Park’s inauguration on Feb. 25.

The ruling and opposition parties originally planned to pass the bill on

Thursday, but they failed to narrow down their differences on several issues. While the Saenuri Party insists on making no changes to Park’s plan, the DUP demanded some changes, such as creating a trade office and upgrading the Small and Medium Business Administration to a ministry.

While the DUP condemned Park for “having thrown cold water on a negotiation that was already in deadlock,” the ruling party yesterday threw its support behind her decision.

“We see them as candidates with expertise or deep understanding in Park’s philosophy,” Representative Lee Sang-il, a Saenuri spokesman, said.

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