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Despite controversy Lee Wan-koo confirmed as Korea's new prime minister Updated: 2015-02-16 17:59:22 KST


After four days of bipartisan wrangling, Lee Wan-koo was finally confirmed on Monday.


"Of the total 281 votes, 148 lawmakers have voted to confirm, 128 have voted against and 5 votes are deemed invalid. The motion is passed."

The new prime minister is expected to help push forward President Park Geun-hye's policy drives to help working people and revitalize the economy.
With Lee's confirmation, the presidential office is expected to carry-out a small reshuffle, involving Cabinet members and presidential aides, based on the new prime minister's recommendations.
President Park's office will also be able to avoid questions about her vetting system and avoid a vacuum in state affairs.

The vote was postponed once last week after the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy refused to endorse the nominee and demanded he step down.
Even before Monday's vote began, it was unclear whether the main opposition party would participate, as some of the party's hardliners had called for a boycott.

In Korea, the prime minister is the second-highest position after that of president, but the job has been largely ceremonial, as the power is heavily concentrated with the president.
Lee has been the third prime minister nominee since May, after the first two nominees withdrew over allegations of ethical and other lapses.
Prior to his confirmation, Lee was facing numerous allegations over various ethical lapses, including real estate speculation, draft dodging and allegations that he tried to stop the press from carrying negative reports about him.

(Stand-up)
"The nation will now have to wait and see what kind of influence the new prime minister can have over state affairs and what role he will play in assisting the president.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News."
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