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(2nd LD) Yoon appoints justice, gender ministers

19:45 May 17, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with plan to vote on prime minister's nomination in paras 8-9)

SEOUL, May 17 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol on Tuesday appointed Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon and Gender Minister Kim Hyun-sook, his office said, filling all but three positions of his first Cabinet.

Yoon pressed ahead with the appointments despite objections from the main opposition Democratic Party.

Han is one of Yoon's closest confidants, and the DP has urged Yoon to withdraw his nomination, citing his resistance to prosecution reform.

Yoon, however, stopped short of appointing Health Minister nominee Chung Ho-young, who is accused of using his position to get his children into a medical school.

Earlier Tuesday, Yoon told reporters he will "continue to review" whether to appoint Chung. The remark came amid speculation Yoon could withdraw Chung's nomination in exchange for the opposition party's agreement to confirm Prime Minister nominee Han Duck-soo.

Chung, a former chief of Kyungpook National University Hospital, has come under fire over allegations he used his position to help his daughter and son gain admission to the university's medical school and exempt his son from active duty military service.

In South Korea, all ministers are subject to a parliamentary confirmation process, but only the prime minister's appointment requires parliamentary approval.

Later Tuesday, the ruling People Power Party and the DP agreed to hold a parliamentary plenary session Friday to vote on whether to approve the prime minister nominee.

The DP, which holds an absolute majority in the National Assembly, has deemed Han unfit for the No. 2 political office due to his post-retirement career at a law firm and other suspected irregularities.

The only Cabinet position left to be named or appointed is the education minister, as Yoon's nominee withdrew himself from consideration over allegations of various ethical lapses.

President Yoon Suk-yeol speaks to reporters as he arrives for work at the presidential office in Seoul on May 17, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)



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