SEOUL – South Korean President Park Geun-hye nominated for prime minister on Friday a political veteran and the current parliamentary floor leader of her ruling Saenuri Party, the presidential Blue House said.
Park named Lee Wan-koo, 64, to the post of prime minister to improve government administration and to make a fresh start as she starts her third year of a single five-year term, Park’s chief public affairs secretary Yoon Doo-hyun said.
Park has seen her public support ratings dip to the lowest of her term as data on Friday showed growth in Asia’s fourth largest economy slowed to its weakest in six years in the last quarter of 2014.
She has also failed so far to engage North Korea in dialogue despite expressing a willingness last week to meet with the North’s leader Kim Jong Un for a summit.
Park has previously tried to replace her prime minister, Chung Hong-won, who resigned to take responsibility for a ferry disaster in April last year but retained him after two nominees withdrew under controversy over personal issues.
Lee began public service as an official at the Finance Ministry in the 1970s and worked in the police force rising to become a provincial police commissioner. He also served as a provincial governor and is a three-term member of parliament.
He is credited with working with the parliamentary opposition to pass reform bills including measures to prevent disasters such as the sinking of the ferry in April which killed 304 passengers, mostly school children.