South Korea: Yoon optimistic on parliament's confirmation of PM nominee

SEOUL: South Korea President Yoon Suk-yeol voiced confidence on Thursday that the opposition-controlled National Assembly would back Prime Minister nominee Han Duck-soo, saying he expects parliament to act "in accordance with common sense." 

"I think parliament will take care of things in accordance with common sense," Yoon said when asked whether he wanted to convey a message to the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) a day before the National Assembly votes on Han's candidacy. Yoon made the statements as he arrived at the presidential office, according to reports.

The National Assembly will hold a plenary session on Friday to decide on Han's nomination. Because the DP has 167 seats in the 300-seat National Assembly, it has the last decision on whether to approve him. The prime minister is the only Cabinet position in South Korea that requires legislative approval.

Han was ruled "unqualified" by the DP's confirmation hearing committee, citing his post-retirement job at a legal firm and other potential irregularities.  However, some members have expressed fears that dissatisfaction might harm the DP's image ahead of the June 1 municipal elections, with accusations that the party is impeding the new government's operations.

The ruling People Power Party (PPP) urged the Democratic Party (DP) to support Han's nomination, threatening a significant backlash if the nomination was rejected. "If the DP continues to refuse to ratify the appointment for no apparent reason, it will surely face a public outcry," PPP floor leader Rep. Kweon Seong-dong warned.

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