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In-depth: President Park's PM, NIS chief nominations and upcoming reshuffles Updated: 2014-06-10 20:41:51 KST

In-depth: President Park's PM, NIS chief nominations and upcoming reshuffles
Following days of speculation, President Park Geun-hye has tapped a career journalist to be her new prime minister and a career diplomat to head the state intelligence agency.
Tuesday's nominations are expected to accelerate the president's reform drive.
And to talk about these choices in-depth, we have our presidential office correspondent Choi You-sun joining us in the studio.
So, let's profile these two first.

The presidential office announced that Moon Chang-keuk, the former editor-in-chief of the JoongAng Daily and head of the Korea News Editors' Association, has been nominated as the new prime minister.

"With his remarkable insight and driving force, the nominee is expected to push forward with reforms in public service and rooting out wrongful practices in our society."

As for the head of the National Intelligence Service, current ambassador to Japan, Lee Byung-kee was named.
The career diplomat's working style and deep understanding of intelligence and security at home and abroad were cited in his nomination.

What standards were used to select these latest nominations? And how well will these choices fall in line with her reform drive?

President Park probably spent the past two weeks searching for a candidate who would not embarrass her with ethical lapses, as her previous nominees have.
Moon's integrity as a former journalist was highlighted in today's announcement, meaning the president probably thought he would face no conflict of interest in leading government restructuring and instituting sweeping reforms in the aftermath of April's ferry disaster.
In President Park's likely move to strike a regional balance in appointments, she chose Moon, who comes from the central Chungcheong region.
A number of her most recent picks came from her political stronghold of southeastern Gyeongsang region.
As for the president's nominee to head the intelligence agency, Lee Byung-kee, a diplomat, and not someone with a military background, was an expected to choice after she picked her defense minister as the new security adviser.

How will the two nominees fare in their confirmation hearings?

Soon after news of Moon's nomination, the opposition party talked about his conservative views reflected in his past columns, and questioned his abilities to unite the nation at a time of crisis.
The ruling party, on the other hand expressed hopes that Moon, if he becomes Korea's first journalist-turned-prime minister, would not hesitate to point out wrongs in society and bring about nationwide reforms.
But, so long as Moon's ethics don't get in the way, he may have a chance of getting that confirmation.
And probably a similar case for the intelligence chief nominee, although the opposition side cast doubt over how effective he could carry out reforms within the agency, being a close aide to the president.

And there are more reshuffles ahead. Who's expected to be replaced and where will the focus be?

Political observers expect the reshuffles to take place after President Park returns from her trip to Central Asia, next week.
It remains unclear whether the president will wait for the prime minister nominee to be confirmed to get his Cabinet recommendation, or have the nominee take part in the decision-making, alongside the current Prime Minister Chung Hong-won.
The latter would be to prevent a further delay in government restructuring she had promised after the Sewol-ho ferry tragedy.
It's speculated the finance minister, who also sits as the deputy prime minister, will likely be replaced, as well as ministers of security, education and fisheries -- all three who came under fire in the aftermath of the ferry accident.
To display her commitment to reform, President Park is also expected to replace a number of senior secretaries, including ones in charge of state planning, economy, foreign affairs and education.
Her chief of staff, meanwhile, is widely expected to stay put for now.

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