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President Appoints Kim Byung-joon as New Prime Minister

November 02, 2016 11:31|November 02, 2016 13:21
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On November 2, President Park Geun-hye has appointed Kim Byung-joon, professor of public administration at Kookmin University, as the new Prime Minister. Yim Jong-yong, current Chairman of the Financial Services Commission, was also appointed as Deputy Prime Minister in Economic Affairs and Minister of Strategy and Finance. At the recommendation of the Prime Minister nominee, the President picked Park Seung-joo, former Vice Minister of the Gender Equality & Family, as the next Minister of Public Safety and Security.

The latest personnel reshuffling comes in three days after the President announced on October 30 her decision to replace Presidential Palace senior secretaries in an effort to overcome a crisis triggered by the so-called Choi Soon-sil scandal.

Presidential Palace spokesman Jeong Yeon-kook said in a briefing, "Prime Minister nominee Kim was senior presidential advisor in policy affairs and deputy prime minister in education under the Roh Moo-hyun government. Given his educational background and experience in policy making, he is a perfect candidate for the job."

The spokesman added, "Yim Jong-yong, the nominee to the Deputy Prime Minister post, has been vice minister of strategy and finance, minister of the prime minister's office, and financial services commission chairman. He has had ample experience in policy making, as well as private sector experience as chairman of NH Nonghyup Financial Group. He is an ideal candidate to steer through the difficult time while finishing up the ongoing job of reforming the economy."

However, Chu Mi-ae, the opposition Minjoo Party leader, commented on the appointment, "This is an indication that the President has not woken up to the reality." Park Jie-won, floor leader of the opposition People's Party, said, "The President is trying to get out of the current predicament by glossing it over with top-level personnel change without explaining the Choi Soon-sil gate."

open@hankyung.com
박지원 국민의당 비상대책위원장은 2일 박근혜 대통령(사진)이 김병준 국민대 교수를 신임 국무총리에 내정하는 등 전격 단행한 데 대해 "박 대통령이 아직도 정신을 못 차렸다"고 강력 비판했다.

야권과 상의가 전혀 없었다는 점을 지적한 것이다. 박 위원장은 이날 오전 국회에서 열린 당 비상대책위 회의에서 "이 국면(최순실 게이트)을 인사 국면으로 전환시키려는 작태를 결코 좌시하지 않을 것"이라며 이같이 말했다.

그는 이번 개각을 "박 대통령이 '박근혜·최순실 게이트'의 진상 규명을 뒤로 한 채 인사 국면으로 호도하려 하는 것"이라고 규정하며 "지금까지 책임총리, 거국내각을 거론하다가 야당에 한 마디 상의, 사전 통보도 없이 개각하는 것은 있을 수 없는 일"이라고 강조했다.

박 위원장은 또 "이런 분노는 국민들에게 더 큰 탄핵, 하야 촛불을 유발시키게 하는 동기가 될 것"이라고도 주장했다.

그는 이어 "검찰 수사를 철저히 할 수 있도록 협력하고 (대통령) 자신부터 검찰 수사를 받겠다고 나서는 자기 고백이 필요하다"며 "거국내각은 역사적으로 볼 때도 대통령이 새누리당을 탈당하고 야 3당 영수회담을 통해서 총리를 추천받으면 대통령이 임명해 문자 그대로 거국내각을 작동할 때 나라가 어느 정도 정상으로 돌아갈 것"이라고 말했다.

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