South Korean president appoints new prime minister

August 8th, 2010 - 8:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Seoul, Aug 8 (DPA) South Korean President Lee Myun Bak Sunday appointed former provincial governor Kim Tae ho as the country’s new prime minister, as part of the biggest government reshuffle the country has seen since Lee became president two-and-a-half years ago.
Kim, 47, is to replace outgoing prime minister Chung Un Chan, 64, who resigned at the end of July.

He is expected to play an important role in communicating with younger generations, a presidential spokesman said Sunday in Seoul.

Kim and seven other newly appointed cabinet ministers were also expected to strengthen the conservative president’s reform programme.

“I will try to become an icon of communication and unity,” Kim was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.

Mid-term reshuffles are not unusual in South Korea, where most decisions are taken directly by the president.

The reshuffle was also a response to the defeat of the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) during country-wide, regional elections at the beginning of June.

The government had also failed in its attempt to scrap the previous administration’s planned relocation of half the government’s ministries to Sejong, a new town under construction south of Seoul.

The National Assembly rejected Chung’s plan to turn Sejong into an education, science and business hub instead.

On Sunday, Lee also promoted the former deputy economy minister Lee Jae Hoon to lead the ministry.

The ministers for education, work, culture and tourism, health, agriculture and forestry were also reshuffled.

Key posts such as minister of defence, finance, foreign affairs and relations with North Korea were left untouched by the reshuffle.

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