Pre-election musical chairs at the Blue House

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Pre-election musical chairs at the Blue House

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President Park Geun-hye on Monday replaced two ministers, setting free politicians from her cabinet ahead of next year’s general election.

Kang Ho-in, former chief of the Public Procurement Service, was named minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, the Blue House said Monday. Vice Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Kim Young-suk was promoted to head the ministry, according to the Blue House.

The reshuffle was expected as five lawmakers of the Saenuri Party are serving as ministers in her cabinet. They are seeking reelection in April.

Of the five lawmakers in her cabinet, Park replaced Land Minister Yoo Il-ho, a two-term lawmaker, and Maritime Minister Yoo Ki-june, a three-term lawmaker. Another cabinet reshuffle is expected to come later this year to liberate Choi Kyung-hwan, deputy prime minister for the economy, Hwang Woo-yea, deputy prime minister for education, and Kim Hee-jung, minister of gender equality and family. In the reshuffle that took place just one day after her return from U.S. trip, Park also replaced six vice ministers.

The reshuffle also included replacement of Park’s key foreign affairs and security aides at the Blue House, a move to quell a controversy over a fighter jet development project from growing. Kim Kyou-hyun, deputy chief of the presidential office for national security, replaced Ju Chul-ki as the new presidential secretary for foreign affairs and security.

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

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