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Confirmation hearing for finance minister nominee likely to follow budget review

The National Assembly is expected to hold a confirmation hearing for Hong Nam-ki, the finance minister nominee, early next month after handling the government's 2019 budget proposal.

On Friday, President Moon Jae-in named Hong, the chief of the government policy coordination office under the prime minister's office, to replace Kim Dong-yeon as finance minister and deputy prime minister for economic affairs.

The ruling Democratic Party is seeking to hold the hearing for Hong around on Dec. 3-5, after the deadline for the budget review.

Hong Nam-ki, Finance Minister nominee (Yonhap)
Hong Nam-ki, Finance Minister nominee (Yonhap)

"We've asked opposition parties to proceed with the confirmation hearing after the budget review and we've received a positive reply from them," said Rep. Kim Chung-woo of the DP.

After nominating an official subject to a parliamentary confirmation, the president sends a document requesting a hearing to the National Assembly within two or three days.

After the hearing, parliament adopts a confirmation report and sends it to the president within 20 days of its accepting of the president's request. In this sense, a confirmation hearing for Hong is likely to be held prior to Dec. 2, the legally-set deadline to review the budget proposal.

"The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae is expected to readjust the date of its submission of the hearing-request document to parliament," Kim added.

The request is widely expected to be delivered to the assembly around Nov. 16.

"We will closely cooperate with opposition parties to smoothly proceed with the completion of the budget review and the confirmation of a new deputy prime minister," said Rep. Seo Young-kyo of the DP.

But the main opposition Liberty Korea Party and other minor parties did not appear to be fully satisfied with the DP's request to delay the hearing.

Conservative parties took issue with the timing of the nomination, which came at a time when parliament is undertaking intense review of the government's record 470.5 trillion won ($414.4 billion) budget proposal.

"We don't know what political calculations the ruling party is making," said Rep. Choo Kyung-ho of the LKP. "Cheong Wa Dae should have announced the shake-up after the budget review."

But he added that if the hearing-request document is submitted to parliament, his party will proceed with the relevant procedure. (Yonhap)