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Ruling party unilaterally adopts confirmation report on new PM

  The ruling Saenuri Party unilaterally adopted a confirmation report on Prime Minister-designate Hwang Kyo-ahn on Friday, brushing aside the opposition's resistance toward the nominee over influence-peddling and lobbying allegations.

   The report was adopted by the special parliamentary committee on the nominee, with only seven ruling party members of the 13-member panel present. The adoption of a confirmation report allows the National Assembly to put a confirmation bill to a vote in a plenary session.

   Six other members who are affiliated with the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy and the minor opposition Justice Party did not attend the committee meeting in protest against the nominee.

   In a three-day confirmation hearing earlier in the week, NPAD has dismissed Hwang as unfit for the country's second-highest government position on grounds that Hwang undertook some illegitimate legal cases while he was working as a lawyer in the past.

   NPAD has also denounced the nominee after Hwang delayed submission of records on his legal career despite repeated opposition demand.

   Still, the ruling party has vowed to push the confirmation through the parliament with or without cooperation from the opposition block.

   The ruling party has 160 of the 298 seats, a majority that will allow it to unilaterally confirm Hwang.

   "It is impossible to leave the prime minister seat empty even for one more day in the face of the MERS situation," a ruling party official said, asking not to be named. "The efforts to persuade the opposition party will continue, but the confirmation report should be adopted anyway in accordance with law."

   The Saenuri Party plans to have negotiations to hold a plenary session for the confirmation early next week, but opposition party members said that it is not going to happen until at least Thursday, when a parliamentary interpellation session kicks off.

   Currently the justice minister, Hwang was nominated in May, a month after then-Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo stepped down amid allegations of bribery. (Yonhap)

  

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