Moon's new interior, health ministers officially start work
President Moon Jae-in’s two new ministers, confirmed by the National Assembly earlier this week, officially started their terms Thursday.
Jeon Hae-cheol, a three-term lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Party (DP), started his new job as minister of interior and safety, the Blue House said. Kwon Deok-cheol, a veteran public servant specialized in both health and welfare policy, also started his term Thursday as the new minister of health and welfare.
Last week, Moon nominated four new ministers. The National Assembly on Tuesday held confirmation hearings for Kwon and Jeon, and lawmakers adopted hearing reports to support their appointments on Wednesday before Moon formally appointed them.
Ministers Jeon and Kwon attended the central disaster headquarters’ Covid-19 meeting on Friday as their first publicly scheduled events.
Moon’s land minister nominee, Byeon Chang-heum, underwent a confirmation hearing on Wednesday, but the opposition lawmakers said they do not support his appointment. During the confirmation hearing, Byeon repeatedly apologized for his past remarks that have been criticized as insensitive, but it did little to allay opposition lawmakers’ concerns.
The Justice Party, a progressive minority party, said Thursday that it does not support Byeon, citing his poor character.
While confirmation hearings are non-binding procedures, ignoring the National Assembly’s opinion can create a political burden for the president. Since he took office, Moon has appointed 23 ministers without the National Assembly’s confirmation reports.
The confirmation hearing for gender equality minister nominee, Chung Young-ai, is scheduled for Thursday.
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