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PM Chung Hong-won keeps job after nominees pull out

Posted June. 27, 2014 03:14,   


President Park Geun-hye’s personnel keyword was “Stringent Security,” as usual. She maintained that style even in the process of deciding to retain Prime Minister Chung Hong-won.

At around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, before announcing a briefing to presidential correspondents at 10 a.m., even most of the presidential office insiders were not aware that Chung would be retained. They appeared taken aback as they had, as lately as on Wednesday, thought that the search for a new Prime Minister nominee would go back to square one.

The president is said to have not informed the ruling Saenuri Party`s floor leader Lee Wan-koo and vice whip Kim Jae-won whom she met with on Wednesday afternoon at Cheong Wa Dae, the presidential office. Lee told journalists after that day’s announcement that he had never spoken of nor heard that Chung would be retained.

Since even the ruling party leadership had no “inkling” it was, in a way, natural that the opposition party leaders were “in the dark.” One hour before the announcement to retain Prime Minister Chung, Park Young-sun, floor leader of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, said at a high-level meeting in her party that since President Park had met with the ruling party floor leader team she should meet with the relevant officials in the opposition. She also said that the third Prime Minister nominee should not be tied down to issues related to region, income groups, or ideology.

One first-term lawmaker of the Saenuri Party said he wished President Park had explained in person to the public that it was inevitable to retain Prime Minister Chung, expressed regret for the absence of the prime minister’s duties, and asked the public’s understanding. A Cheong Wa Dae official said the president will disclose her opinions in person soon. The official said a wide variety of plans are under review, including a meeting with media journalists or meeting with the opposition party leadership, among others, and that the opportunities for communication would be also increased.