South Korea’s Yoon Suk-yeol to decide on prime minister nominee by early April

A spokesperson said continuation of incumbent Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum's tenure is an issue separate from his competence.

Jo He-rim

Jo He-rim

The Korea Herald


Yoon’s spokesperson Kim Eun-hye speaks during a press briefing at the presidential transition committee headquarter in Jongno, Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap)

March 30, 2022

SEOUL – President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol is expected to announce his nominee for prime minister by early April to make sure the entire appointment procedure is completed before the launch of the new government in May, his spokesperson said Tuesday.

“Considering the schedule of the parliamentary hearing (for ministerial appointments), we expect to announce the prime minister nominee by early April to meet the launch of the new government,” Kim Eun-hye, Yoon’s spokesperson, said in a press briefing.

“The date is likely to be after April 1 because we do not usually announce such appointments on April Fool’s Day. I have not checked on the details, but we would have to round up the possible candidates and run basic inspections to announce the personnel appointment by early April,” the spokesperson said, when asked if the president-elect had been informed of the possible nominees this week.

South Korea's Yoon Suk-yeol to decide on prime minister nominee by early April-1

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum (Yonhap)

While incumbent Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum has been in office for less than a year since he was appointed by President Moon Jae-in in May 2021, the spokesperson said continuation of his tenure into Yoon’s administration is an issue separate from his competence.

“(Kim Boo-kyum) has a good reputation and I also respect him, but whether he will maintain his post is a separate matter,” Kim Eun-hye said.

She also added that she does not know about the dialogue Kim Boo-kyum and Yoon had when they met for dinner Friday.

According to officials from Yoon’s office, it takes about 35 days to complete an appointment of ministerial posts, with the procedures including personnel hearing at the National Assembly.

As Yoon’s inauguration is slated for May 10, Yoon’s office said it has been working to round up the potential contenders for prime minister, and is expected to report them to the president-elect this week.

With the president-elect’s focus on reviving the economy, figures in the economy sector have been raised as strong candidates for the post according to speculations in political circles and sources from the presidential transition committee.

They include former Prime Minsiter Han Duck-soo, a trade expert, and Park Yong-maan, the former chairman of the country’s 15th largest conglomerate Doosan Group.

In the political sector, former chief of the liberal Democratic Party of Korea Kim Han-gil and Park Joo-sun, former parliamentary vice speaker, are also in contention.

Ahn Cheol-soo, the chairman of Yoon’s presidential transition team, and four-term Rep. Kwon Young-se, the vice chairman, are also on the list.

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