Back To Top

Moon to tap South Jeolla governor as prime minister

South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in will nominate as prime minister a former liberal lawmaker and incumbent governor of South Jeolla Province, his officials said.

The announcement is to take place in the afternoon, after Moon’s visit to Seoul National Cemetery and his inauguration ceremony at the National Assembly.

South Jeolla Gov. Lee Nak-yon (left) and former lawmaker Lim Jong-seok (Yonhap)
South Jeolla Gov. Lee Nak-yon (left) and former lawmaker Lim Jong-seok (Yonhap)

The incoming prime minister is Lee Nak-yon, former journalist and fourth-term lawmaker, who has been working as provincial governor in the nation’s southwest region since 2014.

Moon, who is more affiliated with Busan in terms of his personal background, has often been blamed for neglecting the Jeolla and Gwangju belt -- a longtime stronghold for the main liberal wing. Therefore, he has sworn to work closely with politicians of this region while in power.

There had been speculations earlier that another potential nominee for the post might be Lim Jong-seok, a 50-year-old former lawmaker who served as chief of staff in Moon’s election camp throughout the campaigning period.

Lim previously worked with Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon as vice mayor of political affairs and is largely deemed an in-party member who could embrace various power groups, especially those who dissent against what they see as the Moon faction’s monopoly.

As for the nominee for deputy prime minister for economic affairs, there are speculations that it might be either Sogang University professor Cho Je-yoon or Moon’s chief economic strategist Lee Yong-sup.

“It is crucial to fill up the posts of key presidential secretaries as soon as possible,” said Moon’s aides, suggesting that Cheong Wa Dae’s secretariat nomination will soon follow as well.

By Bae Hyun-jung (