SEOUL - South Korean President Moon Jae-in's quest for a squeaky-clean government is leading to delays in forming his cabinet more than three weeks into office, as efforts to find candidates free of even the slightest of ethics issues have proved challenging.
In an attempt to make a clean break with his predecessor Park Geun-hye, impeached and ousted over a corruption scandal in March, Moon vowed to bar, "without exceptions", those who abused their powers to benefit themselves or family members from public jobs.
But the push has come at a cost: Key jobs including defence and unification ministers remain unnamed, while opposition lawmakers have raised ethics issues over several nominees soon after they were named and promised a tough grilling in parliament. Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon remains the only cabinet member confirmed so far to start the job.
That is frustrating an administration that wants to jump on major crises, such as a growing threat from North Korea, as it is being forced to extend an uneasy cohabitation with holdovers from Park's former administration.