President Park Geun-hye is expected to name a new prime minister candidate as early as next week, sources said Saturday, as she moves to rev up her reform drive following the local elections.
The nomination, which is due as early as June 8, comes after the president voiced strong will to push forward with her reform agenda in a Memorial Day speech earlier this week.
The high-profile seat has been vacant since then Prime Minister Chung Hong-won offered to quit last month to take responsibility for the poor government response to the April 16 ferry disaster that left more than 300 people dead or missing. Park said at the time she would accept the resignation after the crisis is brought under control.
Park's recent move to replace Chung with Ahn Dai-hee fell through as the ex-Supreme Court justice withdrew his nomination on criticism that he used his former status to make excessive money as a lawyer.
Since the botched attempt, the president has reportedly been searching for a candidate who can support her reform drive as well as meet the public's expectation for an ethical person.
Meanwhile, South Korea's senior presidential press secretary Lee Jung-hyun has offered to step down following the June 4 elections, raising views that a reshuffling of presidential staff is imminent.