President Park Geun-hye on Thursday decided to keep Prime Minister Chung Hong-won in his job after months of disastrous efforts to find a replacement.
Park "has turned down Prime Minister Chung Hong-won's offer to resign and asked him to stay in his post," said senior press secretary Yoon Doo-hyun.
The announcement came two days after her second nominee for the post, Moon Chang-keuk, withdrew his nomination amid mounting criticism over controversial remarks.
"To prevent causing any further vacuum and confusion in government, Park has turned down Chung's resignation after much consideration. As promised, her administration now needs to undertake many reforms and improve safety standards," Yoon added.
Chung had offered to fall on his sword over botched rescue efforts in the April 16 ferry disaster.