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Park to unveil prime minister nominee

President-elect Park Geun-hye plans to announce the nominee for her first prime minister on Thursday, transition team officials said.

Park will unveil the nomination in a press conference at 2 p.m., officials said.

The planned nomination is the latest in a series of steps toward forming the incoming government. Park has so far redesigned the organizational layouts of the administration and the presidential office. She has yet to select Cabinet members.

The nominations for Cabinet positions are subject to confirmation hearings.

In South Korea, the prime minister is second in line to the president, but the position has been limited to a largely ceremonial role as power is heavily concentrated with thepresident. Park has pledged to have the prime minister take on greater responsibilities in her government.

Those being talked about as leading candidates for prime minister include former National Election Commission chief Kim Neung-hwan, former Supreme Court justice Cho Moo-je and former Constitutional Court chief Lee Kang-kook.

It remains to be seen whether Park will pick someone hailing from the opposition stronghold region of Honam for prime minister in a symbolic move to underscore her commitment to national unity.

Aides have said, however, that Park would put merit ahead of regional considerations.

Candidates for deputy prime minister include former Board of Audit and Inspection chief Jeon Yun-churl, former National Intelligence Service chief Kim Seung-kyu, Yonsei University President Jeong Kap-young, and former four-term lawmaker Han Kwang-ok.

Confidants and close aides are expected to be in the running for the position of the presidential chief of staff, such as Rep. Choi Kyoung-hwan, Yeungnam University professor Choi Woe-chool, current chief secretary Yoo Il-ho and long-time aide Lee Jung-hyun. (Yonhap News)
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