President Lee Myung-bak named Labor Minister Bahk Jae-wan, considered one of his closest aides, as the new finance minister Friday in a Cabinet reshuffle that also affected four other ministers, the presidential office said.
The other new ministers are for land and transportation, agriculture, environment as well as Bakh's successor as labor minister. Unification Minister Hyun In-taek and Justice Minister Lee Kwi-nam, who had widely been expected to be replaced, were both retained in the shake-up.
Lee has long been expected to shake up the Cabinet to bring fresh energy to his administration ahead of its fifth and final year in office next year. The reorganization carries added importance after the ruling party suffered a crushing defeat in last month's parliamentary and local by-elections.