President Park Geun-hye is racing against time to win back support from voters
before a crucial by-election on July 30th, with many political pundits saying her party has a good chance of losing its majority in parliament.
An outcome like that would cripple her efforts to push through legislation aimed at spurring economic recovery, overhauling government systems and stamping out social ills accumulated during a rapid, head-long drive toward industrialization over the past several decades.
President Park's plan was to give a fresh impetus to her reform drive by shaking up her Cabinet, but she ran into problems after her two prime minister nominees withdrew one after another in the face of public criticism over morality and controversial remarks on history.
That and the administration's handling of the April ferry disaster have dented the president's approval ratings, which stood near 60 percent in March but are hovering around 48 percent, the lowest since she took office in 2013.
With confirmation hearings for new Cabinet members taking place at the National Assembly through next week and July's by-elections just around the corner, the president may have to come up with new tactics to regain the peoples' trust.
In what appears to be a step in that direction, at the first meeting of her senior secretaries on Monday,
President Park asked the political parties to seek ways to improve the confirmation hearing process and said her office will maintain a pool of talented candidates and keep track of their verification records.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News.