Newly inaugurated President Park Geun-hye will formally appoint seven Cabinet ministers next week, her spokeswoman said Thursday, amid ongoing conflicts with the main opposition party over how to reorganize her administration.
Park was sworn in as South Korea's first female president on Feb. 25, but she has yet to form her 17-member Cabinet after opposition politicians questioned her intentions to control the broadcasting industry. The absence of a Cabinet has raised worries that it is causing serious trouble in state affairs.
So far, 11 nominees have passed their parliamentary confirmation hearings, and seven of them -- the ministers of unification, justice, culture, welfare, environment, labor and gender equality -- will take their positions on Monday, presidential spokeswoman Kim Haing said.
The four other positions cannot be filled yet due to Park's government reorganization proposal still waiting for approval, which, if passed, will change their names and duties. The bill has been stuck in parliament due to disagreement with the opposition party.
After the appointments, Park plans to hold a meeting with the seven ministers on pending issues, the spokeswoman said. However, Park still cannot convene her first Cabinet meeting because by law, a Cabinet meeting requires at least 15 Cabinet members, Kim said.
"It is very pressing to appoint the ministers for foreign affairs, public safety and industry and trade, considering recent security threats from North Korea and economic difficulties for ordinary people. It is very regrettable that ministers cannot be appointed even after confirmation hearings," the spokeswoman said.
"We hope the government reorganization bill will pass through parliament at an early date and state affairs will be normalized," she said. (Yonhap News)