Withdraw Chung’s nominationChung Ho-young nominated as the first health and welfare minister under President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s incoming administration is facing multiple favoritism controversies over his two children. They are accused of being admitted to Kyungpook National University while he was the deputy and president of the state university’s hospital. His son is also suspected of being exempted from active military duty based on medical records issued by the hospital. Chung held a press conference Sunday to explain the controversies while refusing to withdraw from his candidacy. But his explanations only fueled more suspicions.
Chung claimed that favoritism could not have worked since there were no sections in the files to list the names of parents or their jobs. Chung’s daughter got a perfect 60 score in a particular interview, where all three interviewers were professors well-acquainted with Chung. One was Chung’s medical school colleague and the two others co-authored a number of theses with Chung. His daughter scored particularly high compared to other test sections.
His son was also admitted to the medical school through a special opening for Daegu and North Gyeongsang residents, which was newly created while Chung headed the hospital. He was accepted after presenting incredible credentials of co-authoring two theses and completing 40 hours of research work and 19 hours of school lectures a week at the same time. It is hard to clear the suspicions by claiming the admission was based on a blind test.
Claiming no wrongdoing, Chung offered to have his children comply to a reexamination by the education ministry and a medical institution designated by the legislature. But the suspicions cannot be cleared by leaving the investigation up to government offices without considering the incoming president’s influence. Chung has failed to convince the people and should resign himself.
President-elect Yoon has been disappointing in addressing the controversy. He said that clear facts against wrongdoing are needed to remove Chung. Military and school admission favoritism is the most sensitive issue in our society. The president-elect should have been stricter in examining the children of his nominees. If he pushes ahead with the appointment, the new government and ruling party will surely face a backlash in the June 1 local elections.