Nat'l Assembly Rubberstamps New Justice Minister

  • By Kim Ah-jin

    January 28, 2021 09:44

    New Justice Minister Park Beom-kye answers questions from reporters in Seoul on Thursday. /Yonhap

    President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday pushed through the appointment of Park Beom-kye as yet another justice minister in the revolving-door job. Park is the 27th minister of the Moon administration who has been appointed over the heads of the opposition.

    The ruling Minjoo Party called a meeting of the parliamentary Legislation and Judiciary Committee, which it dominates, and rubberstamped Park's appointment in just two minutes. The main opposition People Power Party boycotted the meeting.

    Moon earlier asked the National Assembly to vote on the nominee by Wednesday. The PPP, civic groups and legal community had been calling on the president to withdraw his nomination of Park, who is accused of being a lackey of dubious ethical standards.

    The former judge has been accused of brawling with activists and declaring his assets incorrectly when he was a lawmaker. He is also charged with other, minor irregularities regarding his address registration.

    Outgoing Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae tears up at a farewell event at the government complex in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province on Wednesday. /Yonhap

    Last year, Moon had bulldozed through the appointment of Park's ill-fated predecessor Choo Mi-ae by the same method.

    "A justice minister who has been indicted for assault and a vice justice minister who was charged with assaulting a cab driver and investigated on charges of destroying evidence are unacceptable," the PPP said in a statement. "The government has degraded the Justice Ministry into the 'Injustice Ministry,' and public anger about the arrogance and hypocrisy of the ruling party is growing."

    Park's predecessor, who took the fall for Moon's failed attempt to oust maverick Prosecutor- General Yoon Seok-youl, boasted at a farewell event at the Justice Ministry in Gwacheon on Wednesday, "A clear and irreversible historic precedent has been set to normalize the prosecution. Resistance to reforms has caused some commotion, but nobody will be able to counter the bold spirit of the times yearning for justice and democracy."

    Choo was sacked after 391 days in office, when a series of blunders in Yoon's hounding became an embarrassment for the president, who apparently felt he could no longer hide behind her.

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