Ruling party pushes for former campaigners to fill vacant posts at public corporations
Published : 2013-10-14 20:18
Updated : 2013-10-14 20:18
President Park Geun-hye is moving to accelerate the naming of chiefs of key government offices and public institutions, as calls from the ruling party grows over the delay that has left many former campaigners without jobs lusting after them.
Park kept her schedule free Monday, the day after she returned from her Southeast Asian trip, to reportedly receive a report from her chief of staff Kim Ki-choon over pending issues including personnel.
Kim, in Park’s absence, has met with leading Saenuri Party members, who proposed key members of Park’s presidential campaign team for the positions. Kim is also the head of the presidential personnel committee and has been overseeing a speedier review process for some of the likely candidates in the past week, sources said.
“Personnel work is at the highest priority of things to tackle after the president’s return,” a Cheong Wa Dae official said.
So far there are two minister-level seats including the Board of Audit and Inspection chief and health and welfare minister, and many head positions at public organizations left vacant for weeks and months, as Park held off appointments over escalating criticism of her personnel choices and narrowing resources.
Observers said it remained to be seen how many of her former campaigners Park will recruit for the highly-coveted posts, in the midst of aggravating discontent among the ruling party for the “poor treatment” of those who contributed to Park’s election win.
“It is only right for the government posts to be filled by those that understand the state philosophy and worked together to win the administration in the presidential election,” said Saenuri Supreme Council member Rep. Yoo Ki-june during a morning meeting.
Deputy senior floor leader Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun clarified his position on the scenario by suggesting that Rep. Ahn Chong-bum may be tapped as the new welfare minister.
“I’d think that Ahn would have good chances. (Ahn) played a pivotal role in drawing up the welfare pledges,” Yoon said to speculation that Ahn would be among Park’s choices. Ahn, a first-term lawmaker, has been the brain behind Park’s economic plans since 2007 and served as a member of the transition committee’s welfare subdivision.
The party leadership has already demanded its members, including regional party association chiefs, to be picked by Park for government posts, delivering a list of nominees to then-presidential chief of staff Huh Tae-yeol in June.
Some cited Park’s small personnel pool, caused by her emphasis on confidentiality and aversion to naming former associates to high posts as a form of returning favors, as the reason for the delayed decisions.
Cheong Wa Dae official, however, indicated the pattern might change.
“Even if they are from the political circles, if they have the expertise and the capability, they fit the qualification for the government posts that they share state philosophy and professionalism,” the official said.
At present, 314 seats out of the 1,398 positions at public institutions and companies are left vacant, according to a report by Rep. Sul Hoon of the Democratic Party.
Of the 1,398 seats, the president has the right to appoint 106 of them.
“Of the 106 seats, 28 are still unnamed. Park is neglecting the operational vacuum at public organizations,” Sul added. The organizations without the chiefs include Korea District Heating Corp., Korea Tourism Organization, Korea Expressway Corporation and Korea Racing Authority.