President Park Geun-hye urged new ministers to make the utmost efforts in carrying out state reform agendas at a conferment ceremony that marked the final launch of her new, yet incomplete Cabinet.
“We must make our best efforts until (the day when we) root out accumulated evils,” she said after presenting letters of appointment to new ministers and vice ministers at Cheong Wa Dae.
Last month, the president replaced seven ministers and one spy agency chief in a major Cabinet reshuffle aimed at moving on from the Sewol fiasco, which dealt a serious blow to her leadership.
|President Park Geun-hye walks with newly appointed top officials after a conferment ceremony at Cheong Wa Dae on Friday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)|
But only five new ministers have taken office so far, despite her determination to complete the formation of a new Cabinet this week.
The list includes Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan, Public Administration Minister Chong Jong-sup, Future Planning Minister Choi Yang-hee and National Intelligence Service chief Lee Byung-kee.
Park also requested that new Cabinet members focus on the government’s effort to revitalize the sluggish economy in the second half of the year and play a leading role in making the country a better and safer place to live.
The launch of Park’s new Cabinet was meant to build momentum for her reform drive. Park’s reform agenda, however, has been put on hold due to a series of nomination debacles and the fierce resistance from the main opposition party that ensued.
Earlier this week, the president withdrew her nomination of former Education Minister-designate Kim Myung-soo and appointed Rep. Hwang Woo-yea, former ruling party chairman, to the post. On Wednesday, the former Culture Minister nominee Chung Sung-keun, who came under fire for his drunk driving record, withdrew from the nomination.
The culture and education minister posts are expected to remain vacant for at least a month.
The new education chief nominee Hwang and a culture minister nominee yet to be named will have to go through a parliamentary confirmation hearing. Park was expected to make an announcement on the new culture minister nominee on Friday, to speed up the confirmation process.
By Cho Chung-un (firstname.lastname@example.org)