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South Korean parliament approves prime minister nomination

South Korean parliament approves prime minister nomination

President Lee Myung-bak launched his first Cabinet _ albeit incompletely _ Friday after parliament approved his choice for prime minister, four days after his inauguration as South Korea's president.
Lee formally appointed Prime Minister Han Seung-soo and 11 other ministers after the National Assembly voted to confirm Han's nomination earlier in the day, paving the way for him to appoint other ministers.
Still, he could not fill four other Cabinet posts because three ministerial candidates have resigned over allegations of real-estate speculation, and the fourth selection was still disputed in parliament over other alleged irregularities.
It is expected to take several more weeks for Lee to complete the Cabinet.
"We got off to a little rough start. Responsibility lies somewhat on us as well," Lee told a meeting of presidential secretaries, according to the presidential Blue House, acknowledging a failure to properly screen ministerial candidates.
The new prime minister Han, 72, is a veteran politician who has held several high-profile posts. Though the post of prime minister is largely ceremonial with little decision-making power, the premier leads the country if the president becomes incapacitated.
His approval by the opposition-controlled National Assembly came after Lee, who took office Monday, accepted a key opposition demand that two of his Cabinet nominees be replaced over their alleged ethical lapses, related primarily to real-estate speculation.
The Assembly had originally been scheduled to vote Tuesday on Han's appointment, but the opposition United Democratic Party delayed the vote in an apparent attempt to pressure Lee to accept its demands.
On Wednesday, the two nominees offered their resignations, which Lee accepted as an olive-branch to the opposition.
The opposition's consent to Han's appointment was widely expected following the resignations.
The rival political parties have been jockeying for position ahead of April's parliamentary elections. Lawmakers hold four-year terms, making the polls a key vote that will shape South Korea's political landscape for most of Lee's five-year term.


Updated : 2021-01-26 11:39 GMT+08:00