President Park Geun-hye pressed ahead with her controversial appointment of senior officials Monday despite strong objection from opposition parties.
Park formally appointed Hwang Chan-hyon as chief of the Board of Audit and Inspection, Moon Hyung-pyo as minister of health and welfare and Kim Jin-tae as new prosecutor general Monday.
The move came hours after the leaders of the two main parties met in an unsuccessful bid to find common ground to resolve a political stalemate that includes an opposition boycott of the National Assembly.
Park’s move is likely to add to existing political tension. The Democratic Party has opposed Moon’s selection especially, citing irregularities in his use of a corporate credit card while working at the state think-tank the Korea Development Institute.
“Our reaction cannot but go beyond disappointment to rage. This is clearly an action by President Park Geun-hye that disregards the National Assembly,” DP floor spokesman Rep. Park Soo-hyun said.
“Saenuri Party and Cheong Wa Dae must clearly answer whether the gesture of communication the Saenuri Party showed today was a “public relations show for pushing the appointments through.””
The DP has dug its heels in, linking Moon’s appointment with that of Hwang, and saying that it would only approve Hwang if the former resigned.
But the ruling Saenuri Party, which holds 155 of the 300 parliamentary seats, processed Hwang’s appointment Thursday, inciting fierce criticism and threats of legal action from the DP.
The development led to a DP boycott of parliamentary processes starting Friday. The move, which Kim Han-gil has declared that he will see to its end, with his chairmanship on the line, has raised concerns about the pasing of the national budget for next year.