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[Newsmaker] Ex-lawmaker named Park’s chief of staff

Former lawmaker Huh Tae-yeol, who will be President-elect Park Geun-hye’s chief of staff following her inauguration on Feb. 25, is a veteran politician, bureaucrat and a key ally of Park.

With the president-elect planning to give additional authority to the chief of staff, the position will likely be one of the most influential in the administration, especially in top-level appointments, policy coordination and consultation with political parties.
Huh Tae-yeol (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
Huh Tae-yeol (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)

In addition to serving the president in the closest proximity, the presidential chief of staff will double as the chair of the personnel review committee. The review committee will oversee matters regarding government appointments similar to the Civil Service Commission that was abolished by President Lee Myung-bak.

Born in 1945 in Goseong, South Gyeongsang Province, he joined the civil service in 1970 and held some of the highest posts in provincial governments in his 25-year career. Huh served as the mayor of Bucheon in Gyeonggi Province from 1989 to 1991, before going on to become the governor of North Chungcheong Province in the early 90s.

The 67-year-old also has had a long political career serving three consecutive terms in the National Assembly from 2000.

During his second term in office, Huh rose as a key member of the so-called pro-Park faction within the Grand National Party, the predecessor of the ruling Saenuri Party.

In 2006, when Park held the chair of the conservative party, Huh was made the GNP’s secretary general aided by the administrative expertise he displayed while serving as the chief of various parliamentary committees.

Huh is also an alumnus of Sungkyunkwan University, from which all four presidential staff announced Monday graduated.

By Choi He-suk  (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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