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Parliament endorses art professor as culture minister

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Published : 2014-08-20 13:25
Updated : 2014-08-20 13:25

The National Assembly endorsed an art professor as the nation's culture minister Wednesday in the last step to forming President Park Geun-hye's new Cabinet.

Kim Jong-deok, a professor of visual design at Seoul's Hongik University, was tapped by Park early this month after the previous nominee for the job, Chung Sung-keun, stepped down over allegations of drunken driving and other ethical lapses.

The parliamentary education and culture committee adopted a report endorsing Kim after holding a confirmation hearing on Tuesday.

Kim was seen as fit for the job due to his academic contributions to visual media, public relations and design as well as his varied field experience, the report said.

It noted, however, that the nominee apologized over allegations of unpaid taxes and self-plagiarism in theses. Some lawmakers also raised concerns that the nominee has mostly focused only on the content industry, it added.

The endorsement paves the way for Park to appoint Kim as the last member of her new Cabinet.

Park conducted a partial Cabinet reshuffle in June to revamp her government following April's deadly ferry sinking that left more than 300 people dead or missing, mostly high school students.

The delay in the Cabinet's formation was largely due to a series of unsuccessful nominations that have plagued the president since she took office in February 2013.

In the latest reshuffle, two successive nominees for prime minister stepped down amid controversies over ethical and other lapses, leading Park to retain Prime Minister Chung Hong-won.

In South Korea, all Cabinet nominees are subject to a parliamentary confirmation hearing, but the parliament does not have the right to veto their appointment. Only a prime minister nominee is required to win the National Assembly's approval in order to be appointed. (Yonhap)

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