South Korean Parliament approves PM nominee

 The South Korean parliament Monday approved prime minister nominee Lee Wan-koo after a week-long controversy over his eligibility for the job.

Seoul: The South Korean parliament Monday approved prime minister nominee Lee Wan-koo after a week-long controversy over his eligibility for the job.

Lee, 64, will replace Prime Minister Chung Hon-won, who submitted his resignation last year to assume responsibility for a deadly ferry disaster in April that left more than 300 people dead or missing, Yonhap News Agency reported. 

The controversy centred on allegations that Lee, the preceding floor leader of the ruling Saenuri Party, was unfit for the second highest political office due to various ethical issues, including his apparent attempts to stop the press from carrying negative reports about him.

The confirmation motion passed 148-128, while five votes were deemed invalid.

Despite strong objections from the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), Lee`s confirmation motion was widely expected to pass as his ruling party commands a majority in parliament with 158 out of 295 seats. 

A confirmation motion passes with majority approval in a vote attended by at least half of all lawmakers.

The vote was postponed once last week after NPAD refused to endorse the nominee and demanded he step down.

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