President Park decides to retain prime ministerUpdated: 2014-06-26 AM 9:44:06 (KST)
Our top story this lunchtime
After seeing her last two prime minister nominees pull out before they got anywhere near a confirmation hearing, President Park Geun-hye has decided against naming a third.
She has decided to retain current Prime Minister Chung Hong-won.
For details, we connect live to our correspondent Choi You-sun .
You-sun, fill us in
In a surprise announcement by the senior press secretary on this Thursday, the presidential office said President Park had rejected Prime Minister Chung Hong-won's previous offer to resign and asked him to continue working for the nation with a sense of duty.
Prime Minister Chung had expressed a wish to step down in the wake of the Sewol-ho ferry accident two months ago.
It is the first time in Korea's Constitutional history that a prime minister will be staying on after rendering a resignation.
The press secretary said the president, who has promised a massive restructuring of the government and a bolstering of the national safety system following April's ferry tragedy, had gone to great pains before making the latest decision.
He added, the prolonged administrative vacuum from two failed prime minister appointments and a growing division of public opinion had prompted the president to act quickly.
As soon as President Park's eight Cabinet nominees go through confirmation hearings and the government restructuring bill passes parliament, the tripartite system that includes a prime minister and two deputies will push ahead with the president's three-year economic innovation plan, along with other initiatives.
In regards to the presidential office's personnel verification system, which has been heavily criticized after the recent back-to-back nominee withdrawals, a new senior secretary will be put in charge of finding people to fill positions and verifying their credentials.
In response, the ruling party said the president's decision was understandable and that she had put a priority on minimizing the administrative vacuum and moving forward with the running of state affairs.
The main opposition, on the other hand, criticized the administration for failing to meet the people's expectations to reform Korean society in the aftermath of the ferry disaster.
This was Choi You-sun reporting on President Park's decision to retain Prime Minister Chung Hong-won.
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