Four out of 10 S. Koreans say PM nominee unfit for office

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SEOUL: Four in 10 South Koreans think President Park Geun-hye’s pick for prime minister is unfit for the country’s No. 2 political job, a new poll showed on Friday, the latest sign of public distrust of the nominee accused of various ethical lapses.

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The survey found 41 percent of those polled do not believe Lee Wan-koo is fit for the second-highest position, while 29 percent said he is fit for the office and 30 percent had no opinion, according to Gallup Korea.

The survey, taken between Tuesday and Thursday, marked a sharp downturn in support for the nominee. A similar poll in late January taken soon after Lee’s nomination found that 39 percent of those polled said Lee is fit for the prime minister while 20 percent said he is unfit for the job.

The dwindling support is the latest sign that Lee is facing an uphill battle for a parliamentary confirmation vote, which was delayed to Monday.

Lee, Park’s third choice for prime minister, has come under intense public fire over allegations he tried to control press freedom, speculated in real estate and lied in order to avoid active military service, among other ethical lapses.

Park’s two previous choices for the prime minister quit last year over allegations of ethical and other lapses.

In South Korea, the prime minister is the second-highest position after the president, but the job has been limited to a largely ceremonial role as power is concentrated heavily in the president.

Outgoing Prime Minister Chung Hong-won will remain in office until his successor is confirmed by the National Assembly.

Separately, this week’s Gallup poll showed that Park’s job approval rating edged up to 30 percent from an all-time low of 29 percent in the past two weeks.

Gallup Korea said it questioned 1,010 people between Tuesday and Thursday, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

YONHAP NEWS

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