Park names political novice as new Korea prime minister

June 11, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

SEOUL:  South Korean President Park Geun-hye yesterday nominated a political novice and former journalist as prime minister, as she reshuffles her cabinet in response to intense criticism over the handling of April’s ferry disaster.

Park’s nomination of Moon Chang-Keuk, 65, was something of a surprise.

Although a noted opinion maker from his time as chief editorial writer at the Joong Ang Ilbo newspaper, he has no political or administrative experience, having given up journalism to take up teaching posts in universities.

He will replace Chung Hong-Won who resigned last month over the Sewol ferry tragedy, which claimed around 300 lives, mostly schoolchildren. The trial of 15 crew members from the ferry opened yesterday. 

Chung will remain in the job pending parliamentary endorsement of Moon’s appointment. 

Park had initially nominated former Supreme Court justice Ahn Dai-Hee to the post, but he withdrew two week ago following controversy over income he amassed after leaving the bench and going into private practice.