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S Korean president names justice minister as new PM

21 May 2015 10:20


The South Korean president has named the current justice minister as the new prime minister after the former premier resigned over an alleged bribery scandal.

Park Geun-Hye on Thursday nominated Hwang Kyo-Ahn, 58, as the new prime minister, 25 days after his predecessor Lee Wan-Koo was implicated in a major bribery scandal and forced to step down, the presidential office said.

“Under our current reality, it is very important to achieve a political reform by eliminating irrationalities, corruption and irregularities that have lasted from the past,” presidential spokesman Kim Sung-woo told reporters.

“We believe he is the right person to root out corruption prevalent in our society and carry out political reform to build a new Korea,” Kim said.

Lee stepped down two months after taking office in the second-highest administrative post, on the suspicion that he received 30 million won (28,000 USD) in bribes during the by-election campaign period in April 2013 from a businessman. He had strongly denied the allegations.

The prime minister’s post is largely symbolic in South Korea, where power is concentrated in the presidency.

Park’s first nominee for the premier portfolio withdrew after allegations about his past, and her initial prime minister was Chung Hong-Won, who then resigned after the April 2014 Seoul ferry disaster.

Two successive nominees to replace Chung withdrew their candidacies — again because of allegations of past wrongdoing — and the job finally went to Lee, who then stepped down last month.

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