S.Korea retains incumbent PM after two nominees resign

Updated: 2014-06-26 10:14


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SEOUL - South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Thursday decided to retain incumbent Prime Minister Chung Hong- won after two nominees for the government's No 2 post withdrew candidacy.

Yun Doo-hyun, senior presidential secretary for public affairs, told a press briefing that President Park turned down Chung's resignation and asked him to continue dedicating himself to state affairs as prime minister.

After the deadly ferry sinking disaster, many state affairs that should be urgently dealt with have been building up, but many problems were disclosed in the process of confirming cabinet members and led to state affairs vacuum and split in public opinion, Yun said.

After much consideration, President Park made a decision to retain Chung and decided to launch the new senior presidential secretary office for personnel affairs to find excellent personnel and conduct advance confirmations constantly, the secretary said.

The decision came two days after former Prime Minister nominee Moon Chang-keuk withdrew his candidacy amid rising criticism for his past pro-Japanese comments.

Ahn Dai-hee, Park's first choice for prime minister, resigned from the candidacy in late May on criticism that the former Supreme Court justice received exorbitant salary as a lawyer at a local law firm.

Chung offered in late April to step down to assume responsibility for the ferry sinking disaster that occurred in mid- April and left more than 300 people dead or missing.