Prime Minister offers to step down over scandal

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Prime Minister offers to step down over scandal


Lee Wan-koo

Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo offered to step down over a payoff scandal Monday night, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Blue House said Tuesday.

“Prime Minister Lee offered his intention to resign to President Park as of April 20,” the Prime Minister’s Office said. “The president will decide whether to accept his resignation or not after she returns from her trip.”

Park is currently in the middle of a 12-day Latin America trip. She is scheduled to return to Korea next Monday. Min Kyung-wook, a presidential spokesman accompanying her in Lima, Peru, confirmed the announcement of the Prime Minister’s Office.

"The prosecution should clearly shed light on everything by conducting a thorough investigation," Park said, according to a written comment released in Lima.

Park named Lee Wan-koo, a politician who built his career in the Chungcheong region by climbing his way up from police chief in the small village of Hongseong, as the prime minister in February after a series of botched nominations for the post. The former South Chungcheong governor, who also served three terms in the legislature, has been implicated in a snowballing scandal over payoffs by Sung Wan-jong, a construction tycoon-turned-politician who committed suicide earlier this month amid a corruption investigation.

After 63 days in the office, Lee offered to step down from the prime minister post.

A cabinet meeting scheduled for today will be headed by deputy prime minister Choi Kyung Hwan.

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