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Incumbent finance minister likely to maintain his post

Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister for Economy Yoo Il-ho is likely to keep his job, as both ruling and opposition parties as well as acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn were seen supporting Yoo’s continued term Monday.

Following the parliament’s passage of a bill to impeach President Park Geun-hye on Friday, it had remained uncertain as to whether the incumbent Yoo would maintain his post or whether Financial Services Commission Chairman Yim Jong-yong, who had been nominated as new finance minister by Park last month, would take over.

Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho (left) meets National Assembly Speaker Chung Se-kyun at the National Assembly in Seoul, Monday. (Ministry of Strategy and Finance)
Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho (left) meets National Assembly Speaker Chung Se-kyun at the National Assembly in Seoul, Monday. (Ministry of Strategy and Finance)


The likelihood of Yoo continuing in his post has grown stronger, as representatives from the ruling Saenuri Party, the main opposition Democratic Party and the minority opposition People’s Party agreed to include Yoo in working level meetings to set up a bipartisan-government consultation body for running the state in the post-impeachment period.

Prior to the agreement, opposition lawmakers were divided on theh issue, with some supporting Yoo and others supporting Yim.

As they could not reach an agreement, they let their leadership decide.

On Monday, Hwang directly mentioned Yoo at a ministerial meeting, indirectly signaling that Yoo would continue in his post, observers said.

“The incumbent economic team, led by Deputy Prime Minister for Economy Yoo Il-ho, should pre-emptively deal with internal and external risks, as well as find measures to overcome the current economic difficulties,” Hwang said at the meeting.

Hwang also called on FSC chief Yim to carefully monitor financial markets to prevent excessive volatility. Yim is likely to continue as FSC chairman.

Since Yim was named as new finance minister on Nov. 2, Yoo and Yim have been in an awkward situation, with Finance Ministry officials reporting economy-related issues to both Yoo and Yim for over 40 days.

Experts have called for a quick decision on the top economic policymaker to prop up the flagging economy which has been suffering from falling exports and weak consumption.

By Kim Yoon-mi (yoonmi@heraldcorp.com)
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