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Pres. Park nominates former journalist as prime minister

Pres. Park nominates former journalist as prime minister

Posted June. 11, 2014 04:16,   


Moon Chang-keuk will be the first journalist who becomes a prime minister in Korean history, if the National Assembly agrees.

Korea had a prime minister who previously worked at a newspaper company. Choi Doo-sun, a former president of the Dong-A Ilbo, was appointed as the first prime minister for the Park Chung-hee administration in December 1963. Choi, however, was not a journalist. The Kim Dae-jung administration nominated Chang Dae-hwan, the then CEO of the Maeil Business Newspaper, in August 2012, but failed to be appointed due to the objection of the parliament.

Some politicians say that President Park Geun-hye benchmarked the strategy of her father, former President Park Chung-hee. Former President Park appointed Choi who was critical of him as the first prime minister to make a breakthrough in the media that was not in favor of him.

When Choi was running the Dong-A Ilbo as a CEO, the newspaper ran an article on the next day of the May 16 coup in 1961, “The revolutionary government should hand over its power to the people.” When former President Park who had promised the "power transfer" mentioned the "extension of his term" the following year, the newspaper criticized this harshly. It also ran articles criticizing former President Park in the run-up to the presidential election in October 1962. Lee Man-seop, former National Assembly speaker and then journalist of the Dong-A Ilbo, said, “Former President Park showed grievance against the Dong-A Ilbo, but he valued Choi’s spirit high and even appointed him as a prime minister.”

The presidential office stressed that Moon wrote an op-ed criticizing President Park, titled, “Park Geun-hye, why does she try to undermine MB’s power?” in April 2011.

Some point, however, that it cannot be said that Moon has consistently opposed President Park and the ruling party. In a broader context, he is closer to the ruling party. Opposition parties see that Moon wrote more favorable op-eds to the current ruling party and was critical about the then ruling party or the Open Uri Party (current New Political Alliance for Democracy Party) while serving as a chief editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo, one of the country’s biggest newspapers.

“We think Moon is not a journalist with a sense of balance,” a re-elected lawmaker of the main opposition party said. “It is hard to say that President Park followed her father’s strategy embracing political opponents.”