Too much power in just another form

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Too much power in just another form

 The Justice Ministry is in charge of screening candidates for high-ranking public offices after a shifting of power in the administrative order. It is assuming the role of the senior presidential secretary for civil affairs. Senior presidential secretaries for civil affairs traditionally wielded enormous power, such as Woo Byung-woo under President Park Geun-hye and Cho Kuk under President Moon Jae-in.  
But the change suggests the mighty power of the office has only been transferred to the Justice Ministry because it is headed by Han Dong-hoon, one of the closest allies of President Yoon Suk-yeol during their careers as prosecutors. The justice minister would create a new bureau that would have a staff of up to 20 including four prosecutors and two police officers of a mid-level rank. The first officer under the head of the new bureau would be in charge of collecting and overseeing information about candidates’ social lives and the second officer from the economic category. The scope of information collection and oversight remains ambiguous.
If a staff collects information on high-ranking government office candidates in social and economic areas, the scope and subject could go on expanding. If assistant ministerial or director level officials are vetted as candidates for vice minister, all government officials could one day become subject to such scrutiny. The bureau could turn into a mighty spy agency. If the Justice Ministry has access to private information on finances, real estate, incomes and border entries and exits, it could influence appointments of other government offices.
Moreover, Han is one of closest persons to the president. Too much power invested in him could stoke protests from the Democratic Party (DP), the majority party in the legislature. Yoon appointed Han justice minister despite objections from the DP.
People close to Yoon and Han have landed key posts in the prosecution service. Han revived the securities and financial crimes investigation units at the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office and strengthened investigations in international crimes and food and drug crimes. If he oversees a bureau responsible for appointments, he would become the most powerful justice minister ever.
There have been warnings about another institutions replacing the presidential office of civil affairs. Before the amendment to the executive order passes the cabinet, there must be a mechanism to check the authority of the justice minister. We must not replace an overly powerful presidential secretary for civil affairs with an overly powerful justice minister.
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