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[Newsmaker] Poll respondents divided on whether to reform confirmation hearing system

This file photo taken May 4, 2021, shows a confirmation hearing for the oceans minister nominee under way at the National Assembly in Seoul. (Yonhap)
This file photo taken May 4, 2021, shows a confirmation hearing for the oceans minister nominee under way at the National Assembly in Seoul. (Yonhap)
South Koreans appear to be almost evenly divided on whether to remedy the current parliamentary confirmation hearings for minister nominees, a poll said Monday, as the ruling party and the presidential office are pushing to shift the focus of the system to their job performance ability.

In the Realmeter poll of 500 adults nationwide conducted Friday, 47.9 percent agreed to the need to refurbish the present confirmation hearing system, while 45.5 percent expressed an opposite view. The remaining 6.6 percent offered "don't know" responses.

By political orientation, 68.7 percent of liberals supported the push to reform the confirmation hearing system, while only 34.5 percent of conservatives agreed. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence.

The ongoing political debate has surfaced after opposition parties had intensively raised questions about alleged ethical lapses of President Moon Jae-in's three minister nominees during parliamentary confirmation hearings early this month.

Amid opposition parties' criticism of Moon's nominations, the oceans minister nominee stepped down Thursday over his wife's alleged smuggling of porcelain ware.

In a news conference to mark his fourth inauguration anniversary a week ago, Moon said he chose his minister nominees in consideration of their ability and expertise, and claimed the current confirmation hearing system is excessively focused on delving into nominees' ethical problems and humiliating them in public.

The president then proposed that confirmation hearings on the morality of minister nominees be held in closed-door sessions. (Yonhap)
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