Rep. Lee replaces Yoon Jin-sook, who was fired by the president last week for making inappropriate remarks and gestures regarding a massive oil spill in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province.
“The president has tried to minimize the vacuum in the post and to stabilize the organization shortly after it became vacant,” presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook said.
“The nominee is the right person to stabilize the maritime organization with his deep understanding of overall state agendas and a wide range of experience and virtue as a ranking lawmaker,” he added.
The minister-nominee is a judge-turned-politician and considered a close party ally to Park. The four-term lawmaker was a senior strategist for Park’s presidential campaign team in 2012. Before entering politics in 1996, he served as a judge at the Seoul Supreme Court and the Busan District Court. He also served as vice governor for the South Gyeongsang Provincial Government.
Lee is expected to undergo a confirmation hearing soon as the National Assembly’s extraordinary session ends on Feb. 28. Maritime Minister-nominees do not require parliamentary approval. Park’s nomination, however, is likely to face opposition at the Assembly as Lee has no experience in the area of fisheries and maritime affairs.
Local reports say the personal background of Lee, who was born in the port city of Masan, South Gyeongsang Province, may have been an advantage for him.
By Cho Chung-un (firstname.lastname@example.org)