Independent lawmaker Ahn Cheol-soo has been assigned to the National Assembly’s Health and Welfare Committee in line with his wishes, a parliamentary spokesman said Thursday.
The assignment comes a month after the former presidential candidate was elected to parliament in the April 24 by-elections.
“National Assembly Speaker Kang Chang-hee decided to assign Rep. Ahn to the Health and Welfare Committee upon considering his wishes and the processes undertaken between the floor leaders of the ruling and main opposition parties,” Bae Sung-rye, the Assembly spokesman, said in a press briefing.
Ahn had expressed his wish to serve on the health committee, citing his former job as a medical doctor and his desire to keep his shares in AhnLab, the anti-virus software firm he founded.
In South Korea, lawmakers and senior government officials are required to sell their stock holdings or put them in a “blind trust” during their time in office if the government deems the assets to be related to the job.
In the case of lawmakers, their shares must not be related to the work of the standing committee they serve on. In principle, Ahn would have had to fill the vacancy left by his predecessor on the political affairs committee.
Earlier this month, the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic Party were reported to have agreed to give Ahn a seat on the health committee.
However, the Assembly’s secretariat had cast doubts over whether Ahn would get his desired assignment, saying parliamentary laws require the Assembly speaker to assign independent lawmakers to a standing committee. (Yonhap News)