South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s dwindling political fortunes have taken another hit after her second nominee for prime minister was forced to withdraw because of past remarks about Japanese colonial rule.

“I wanted to help President Park Geun-Hye. But I believe that my resignation is the way to help her at this point,” Moon Chang-keuk told a press conference.

“So today I’m giving up my nomination for the prime minister,” he said.

A political novice, the 65-year-old former journalist had been a surprise choice from the start and his nomination swiftly became a political battleground because of past comments about issues related to Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule over the Korean peninsula.

Park has had problems with a number of her key political appointments and Moon’s withdrawal is a further blow at a time when her popularity ratings are already at their lowest ebb following the Sewol ferry disaster in April.

The prime minister’s job fell open after incumbent Chung Hong-Won resigned amid strident public criticism of the government’s response to the Sewol tragedy which claimed around 300 lives, mostly schoolchildren.

Park tried to replace him with Ahn Dai-hee, a former supreme court justice, but he was forced to withdraw his nomination following controversy over income he amassed after leaving the bench and going into private practice.

The premiership is a largely symbolic position in South Korea, where all real power lies in the presidential Blue House. But it is the only cabinet post requiring parliamentary approval and Moon would have had to endure a rough confirmation hearing… see more

source: Guardian UK