Moon Jae-in remodels govt after tough local elections defeat

Seoul, Apr 16 (EFE).- South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced Friday a cabinet reshuffle that could seek to improve his popularity, currently at a minimum, after a hard local elections defeat suffered by his party for the Seoul and Busan mayorships.

Kim Boo-kyum stands out among the nominees to occupy important executive positions, having already served as Interior Minister from 2017 to 2019 and with whom Moon chose to replace current Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun.

Chung came into office 15 months ago and is one of the possible candidates to represent the ruling Democratic Party in presidential elections scheduled for March 2022.

Moon also nominated Moon Sung-wook as the new head of the Trade, Industry and Energy Ministry, An Kyung-duk to fill the Labor role, Lim Hye-sook for the Science Ministry, and Park Jun-young, current Fisheries Vice Minister, to be promoted to minister.

All these appointments must be approved by the National Assembly, where the Democrats has a majority.

Plans to renew the government come 10 days after the hard defeat suffered by the Democratic candidates in Seoul and Busan, seen as a key advances for the 2022 presidential elections.

The mayoralties fell to the candidates of the conservative People’s Power Party, the main opposition bloc.

The elections have come at a time of weakness for Moon and his party due to a controversial reform of the Attorney General’s Office, the persistent rise in house prices and a real estate speculation scandal involving officials of the public housing developer.

The latest poll conducted this week by consulting firm Gallup Korea shows Moon’s approval rate among South Koreans at 30 percent, the lowest level since he came to power in 2017. EFE


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