South Korea President Replaces Prime Minister to Tackle Scandal

Park Geun-hye moves to contain controversy

South Korean protesters stage a rally calling for President Park Geun-hye to step down in downtown Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016.
South Korean protesters stage a rally calling for President Park Geun-hye to step down in downtown Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Nov. 1, 2016 9:46 p.m. ET

SEOUL—South Korea’s president named a new prime minister and two other cabinet members in a fresh move to try to contain the fallout of a scandal over the influence of a friend of hers in government affairs.

President Park Geun-hye has been under growing pressure after she apologized last week for letting the friend help prepare her speeches early in her term. South Korean media reports have made further claims that the friend, Choi Soon-sil, was deeply involved in policy-making despite having no official role in government.

Ms. Choi denied in a newspaper interview any influence in government. She was detained by prosecutors on Monday for questioning. Ms. Choi, 60, is also the subject of an investigation into possible corruption at two charitable foundations.

Ms. Park’s public approval ratings have sunk to single digits in the wake of the allegations. She hasn’t spoken publicly about the scandal since her apology.

On Wednesday, Ms. Park nominated Kim Byong-joon, an adviser to former President Roh Moo-hyun, as prime minister, according to a statement from the president’s office. In South Korea, the position of prime minister is largely a ceremonial role, but it is the second-highest government post and serves as deputy to the president.

Ms. Park also nominated Financial Services Commission Chairman Yim Jong-yong as finance minister and announced a new head of the ministry of public safety.

The moves aren’t likely to result in any policy changes. The replacement of senior officials in periods of political crisis is common in South Korea as a move to show the administration is responding to criticism.

Last week, Ms. Park called for some of her senior aides to resign, and on Sunday accepted the resignation of five of them.

Write to Alastair Gale at alastair.gale@wsj.com

http://www.wsj.com/articles/south-korean-president-names-new-prime-minister-and-two-cabinet-ministers-1478051200

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One Response to “South Korea President Replaces Prime Minister to Tackle Scandal”

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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