Opposition urges delay on Hwang’s confirmation

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Opposition urges delay on Hwang’s confirmation

The main opposition demanded Sunday, the eve of the confirmation hearing for President Park Geun-hye’s prime ministerial nominee, to delay the session over what it said was the candidate’s failure to provide enough information for lawmakers to use to vet him.

The National Assembly had scheduled a three-day confirmation hearing from today to Wednesday to scrutinize Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, whom Park nominated last month to take the lead as her new prime minister. Park has not yet named a successor to head the Ministry of Justice.

The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) has pledged a thorough examination, bashing Park’s decision to tap the conservative former prosecutor with a record of pursuing anti-state crimes. The NPAD said Sunday that the confirmation hearing should be delayed because the lawmakers had not received the necessary documents from Hwang with which to question him.

NPAD Rep. Woo Won-shik, a member on the special committee on the confirmation hearing, complained about Hwang’s stance to only answer questions at the hearing rather than submitting written answers to the lawmakers in advance.

“What he’s doing is like exercising the right to remain silent,” he said.

In addition to Hwang’s political inclinations, the opposition has said it will question him about draft-dodging allegations and special treatment he received while working as a lawyer following his retirement.

Hwang has maintained he will answer those questions at the confirmation hearing.

“Taking into account Hwang’s attitude of concealing all the necessary data, I wonder if we can have a proper confirmation hearing tomorrow,” NPAD Rep. Lee Jong-kul, the party floor leader, said Sunday during the its strategy meeting for the hearing.

“We still have time, so I will ask the ruling party to reschedule the confirmation hearing by a couple of days,” Lee said, adding that the NPAD also has the option to boycott the session.

The ruling Saenuri Party, meanwhile, rejected the NPAD’s request.

“It is unacceptable for them to change the schedule by picking on a few issues about document submissions,” said Saenuri Rep. Kim Young-woo.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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