October 01, 2010 22:32
The National Assembly has approved a new prime minister, filling a post that has been vacant since August. Also on Friday, President Lee Myung-bak named a new foreign minister. The previous top diplomat stepped down amid accusations of favoritism last month.
The new prime minister is Kim Hwang-sik, a former Supreme Court justice and head of the government auditing board. He was approved on a vote of 169 to 71 after defending himself at a hearing this week against allegations he once faked medical records to avoid the draft.
The new foreign minister will be Kim Sung-hwan, a career diplomat who has been serving as Lee's national security adviser. Parliament will conduct a hearing on his nomination but cannot block it.
Lee's government remains popular despite a series of embarrassments that have made it difficult for the president to fill top positions. Former Prime Minister Chung Un-chan stepped down in August after a dispute about a government relocation project. Lee's first nominee to replace him, former provincial governor Kim Tae-ho, withdrew during hearings amid complaints of unethical behavior.
The foreign minister's post was vacated last month by Yu Myung-hwan over accusations that hiring procedures were rigged to help his daughter win a mid-level job at the ministry.
Some information in this story was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
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