Parties clash over new education minister’s qualifications at parliamentary session

SEOUL, Oct. 4 (Yonhap) — Rival parties clashed at a parliamentary session Thursday over President Moon Jae-in’s appointment of a new education minister despite opposition parties’ objections.

Moon on Tuesday appointed Yoo Eun-hae, a ruling party lawmaker, as new education minister and deputy prime minister responsible for social affairs.

Conservative opposition parties denounced Yoo’s past ethical lapses, including the false registration of her home address to get her daughter admitted to a better elementary school.

In response, the ruling Democratic Party (DP) sought to defended Yoo, saying that she is well qualified for the job based on her work on the parliamentary education committee.

Rep. Joo Kwang-deok of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) initiated a verbal attack on her, raising the question of her qualifications to be education minister.

“How could a person who wrongfully registered her child’s address for easy entrance into a school that everyone wants, committing an illegal act, become the country’s education minister?” he said.

Yoo, who faced her first parliamentary interpellation session as a Cabinet member, said she apologized for her past acts.

“I have repeatedly apologized for the false registration of the address. I am fully accepting of people’s poignant comments, and once again, I apologize for that,” she said.

The conservative LKP and the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party expressed resentment, saying that Moon was wielding “emperor-like” authority and ignoring the legislative body.

The parties said that they will seek a law revision to prevent the president from appointing deputy prime ministers without parliamentary confirmation.

They said the appointment of Yoo amounted to the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling party’s rejection of cooperation with opposition parties.

Meanwhile, the ruling DP actively defended Yoo, saying that politicizing her appointment is not proper at the interpellation session.

“Yoo has expertise as she has worked on the education committee for six years,” Rep. Jeon Hyun-heui of the DP said.

“At a confirmation hearing, the issue was fully verified, and she apologized for that. It is not the National Assembly’s duty to politicize a matter that was already handled at the hearing,” she claimed.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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