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Korea's Lee shakes up Cabinet

05-06-2011 20:26 BJT

SEOUL, May 6 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Lee Myung-bak carried out a partial Cabinet shakeup Friday, replacing five ministers.

Incumbent labor minister Bahk Jae-wan has been named as new finance minister, replacing Yoon Jeung-hyun, while deputy labor minister Lee Chae-pil has been promoted to fill Bahk's post.

Bahk, a Harvard-trained former professor, had briefly worked at the finance ministry and served as a senior presidential secretary, presidential chief of staff Yim Tae-hee said during a press briefing.

Calling Bakh a "policy expert," Yim said the newly tapped finance minister is believed to have capabilities to be a "global economic leader."

The partial reshuffle affected three others, with Lee replacing environment minister, land minister and food minister. Contrary to previous expectations, however, unification minister Hyun In-taek and justice minister Lee Kwi-nam kept their posts.

"We excluded the unification minister from the latest reshuffle for the sake of the consistent policy direction," Yim said, adding pending tasks at the justice ministry also kept its head on the job.

The shakeup comes after the ruling Grand National Party suffered a setback in crucial by-elections, which observers here said might push the Lee administration into the lame duck period ahead of key parliamentary and presidential elections slated for 2012.

The move, therefore, is widely seen as Lee's bid to inject some fresh blood into his administration as he starts out the last year in his five-year stint as president.

Public hearings are necessary for confirmation, but lawmakers cannot veto the nominations.



Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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