President Yoon Suk-yeol. Yonhap
The president may be looking to strengthen his office’s public appeal, in a move to subdue growing calls for a major reshuffle.
According to reports citing a high level ruling bloc official, President Yoon Suk-yeol is considering a “small” reshuffle of his aides, focused on “strengthening” the presidential office.
Talks of a reshuffle within the presidential office gained momentum following Education Minister Park Soon-ae’s resignation on Aug. 8, after controversy broke out over plans to lower the elementary school entrance age.
Park’s resignation, which followed widespread public outrage, fanned criticism of Yoon’s personnel choices.
However, the reshuffle could be directed mostly at the presidential secretariat – whose members do not require National Assembly confirmation hearing. The presidential secretariat does not officially have control over government ministries, but are considered to have significant sway in policies.
Officials in the presidential office have hinted that a possible reshuffle would be aimed at bolstering the secretariat’s capabilities – which Yoon pledged to reduce during his campaign for president.
“To slim down the presidential office, too few people had been chosen,” another presidential office told the media on condition of anonymity.
“There could be changes that are aimed at bolstering (the number of people) to create an environment for (officials) to work better.”
While the presidential office has declined to mention any possibilities regarding a reshuffle, former lawmaker Kim Eun-hye has been linked to changes.
Kim, a former journalist, served as the spokeswoman for Yoon’s transition committee after his election win. Kim also ran in the Gyeonggi Province gubernatorial race in the local elections earlier this year.
The presidential office, however, declined to confirm media reports regarding Kim.
Yoon’s approval ratings, meanwhile, appear to have stopped their downward slip, with some opinion polls putting the figure back in the 30 percent range.
According to a poll conducted by Realmeter from Aug. 8 to 12, Yoon’s approval rating came to 30.4 percent, rising 1.1 percentage point from the previous poll.
Yoon’s approval rating had dropped into the 20 percent range the previous week, three months after his inauguration.
By Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org