S. Korean president names justice minister as new PM

Updated: 2015-05-21 13:19


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SEOUL - South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Thursday named the current justice minister as new prime minister after the former prime minister stepped down for the alleged bribery scandal.

Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn was nominated as the country's second-highest administrative post, 25 days after Lee Wan-koo, the former prime minister, resigned on suspicion that he received bribes, the presidential office said.

It reflected President Park's strong will to reform the political arena by naming the head of the judiciary authority as new prime minister.

"Under our current reality, it is very important to achieve a political reform by eliminating irrationalities, corruption and irregularities that have lasted from the past," senior presidential press secretary Kim Sung-woo told reporters.

Hwang, 58, was named as the first justice minister of the Park administration that took office in February 2013. He had assumed major positions in the prosecution before making the justice minister.

Hwang's nomination came after the former prime minister stepped down on suspicion that he received 30 million won ($28,000) in bribes during the by-election campaign period in April 2013 from a businessman who killed himself on April 9.

Sung Wan-jong, the former ruling party lawmaker and businessman who ran the now-bankrupt construction firm, left a brief memo that listed eight heavyweight politicians, including the former prime minister alongside current figures.

Lee had strongly denied his involvement although admitted that he had few acquaintances with Sung. Lee even said that he would kill himself if any evidence comes out for conviction.

Lee resigned as it turned out that he had made some 200 phone calls with Sung in the past year and had dozens of meetings with Sung.