Presidential office denies Moon aides under consideration for PM, chief of staff

April 17, 2024

The presidential office denied reports Wednesday that two people close to former President Moon Jae-in are under consideration for the next prime minister and presidential chief of staff.

Broadcasters TV Chosun and YTN reported that President Yoon Suk Yeol is considering tapping former SMEs Minister Park Young-sun for prime minister and Yang Jung-chul, former head of the Institute for Democracy, a think tank under the main opposition Democratic Party, as his chief of staff.

Presidential office (Yonhap)
Presidential office (Yonhap)

“Appointing people such as former Minister Park Young-sun and former Institute for Democracy chief Yang Jung-chul, which has been reported by certain news outlets, has not been considered,” the presidential office said in a notice to the press.

Park served as minister under the former liberal president, while Yang is known as one of Moon’s closest confidants.

The reports come as Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, presidential chief of staff Lee Kwan-sup and most senior presidential secretaries have submitted their resignations to take responsibility for the ruling party’s crushing defeat in last week’s parliamentary elections.

According to sources in political circles, Yang told people close to him that he thinks the reports are “farfetched.”

Yoon is also considering appointing Kim Jong-min, co-leader of the minor New Future Party (Saemirae), as the inaugural special minister for political affairs, according to YTN. Kim is aligned with former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, who served under the Moon administration.

“It’s an absurd story,” a senior presidential official told Yonhap News Agency.

Another presidential official admitted, however, that all three people are under strong consideration, noting Yoon said the previous day there is nothing he cannot do for the people following the election defeat.