Seven assistant secretaries to the president recently resigned to prepare for the general election in their respective constituencies.
A number of senior presidential aides who left Cheong Wa Dae late last year have been getting ready for elections as well.
President Moon Jae-in is expected to replace some of his secretaries and vice ministers next week, and this is believed to be groundwork before more senior aides to Moon and politician-turned-ministers leave to stand for the general election.
The incumbent senior presidential secretaries for jobs, civic society, Moon’s personal secretary, presidential secretaries for political affairs, civil affairs, local autonomy, social policy, and chief of the Blue House press center are known to be considering running for a National Assembly seat next year.
“Cheong Wa Dae has become the Democratic Party’s general election camp, and the National Assembly has long been a field office of the Blue House,” the main opposition Liberty Korea Party spokesman Min Kyung-wook said in a statement Wednesday.
A series of personnel replacements, including a Cabinet reshuffle, will continue through the first half of this year to “minimize the operational vacuum,” according to a source in the ruling party.
Several vice ministers -- Suh Choo-suk of defense, Chun Hae-sung of unification, Kwon Deok-cheol of welfare and Roh Tae-kang of sports -- and vice chairman Kim Yong-beom of the Financial Services Commission are reportedly among those to be replaced later this month in an apparent step to reorganize the ministries ahead of the election.
Ministers Yoo Eun-hye of education, Kim Hyun-mi of land and transportation, and Jin Sun-mee of gender equality and family, who were previously lawmakers, are among those likely to be replaced in August so they can return to the parliament.
Moon’s first chief of staff Im Jong-seok, former senior presidential secretaries Han Byung-do for political affairs, Yoon Young-chan for public relations, former presidential secretaries Baek Won-woo for civil affairs, Na So-yeol for decentralization, and former chief of the Blue House press center Kwon Hyuk-ki, most of whom are lawmaker hopefuls, left Cheong Wa Dae starting last August through January this year.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)