3 S Korea Cabinet appointees withdraw over ethics
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Last Updated: Sunday, August 29, 2010, 22:28
Seoul: Three nominees for South Korean Cabinet positions, including prime minister, withdrew from consideration today amid a growing controversy over ethical standards and alleged misconduct.

The withdrawals were a blow to President Lee Myung-bak halfway through his five-year term. Earlier this month, he nominated Kim Tae-ho, a former provincial governor, to be his new prime minister in an extensive Cabinet reshuffle aimed at restoring public support two months after his governing party suffered a surprising defeat in mayoral and gubernatorial elections.

Kim, 48, would have been South Korea's youngest prime minister in nearly 40 years. The post of prime minister is largely ceremonial with little decision-making power, but the person holding the position leads the country if the president becomes incapacitated.

At a confirmation hearing last week, lawmakers grilled Kim over his ties to a convicted businessman at the centre of a high-profile bribery scandal. The opposition party accused Kim of lying about his links to the man, though the prosecution has cleared Kim of bribery charges.

Kim was also accused of having a government employee work as a housekeeper at his home and illegally taking bank loans to use as campaign funds while serving as governor of South Gyeongsang province.


First Published: Sunday, August 29, 2010, 22:28

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