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Stumbles of SKorean leader distract month into job

March 27, 2013 • World News


CORRECTS DATE – South Korean President Park Geun-hye delivers a speech during the third anniversary of the sinking of a South Korean naval war ship “Cheonan,” at the National Cemetery in Daejeon, South Korea, Tuesday, March 26, 2013. An explosion ripped apart the 1,200-ton warship, killing 46 sailors near the maritime border with North Korea in 2010. (AP Photo/Kim Jae-hwan, Pool)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s honeymoon was over before it even began.

Only a month on the job, Park has stumbled repeatedly in the face of bitter opposition to policy proposals and her choices for top government posts.

Half a dozen Cabinet appointees have quit under clouds. The latest is Han Man-soo, who withdrew his nomination for antitrust chief Monday amid allegations he stashed millions of dollars overseas to avoid taxes. Other claims that have brought down Park appointees include real estate speculation, a sex-for-influence scandal, bribery and links to an arms broker.

“A couple of flops would’ve been acceptable, but having a total of six failures in the first few months means that the problem lies with her style,” said Lee Cheol-hee, head of the Dumon Political Strategy Institute think tank. “She seems to think she can just hand down a list of people she prefers, without thinking hard about whether those people’s credentials and ethical records fit the jobs they will be handling.”

Critics also complain that she’s still short on specifics about how to deal with pressing issues including an increasingly belligerent North Korea and serious domestic anxiety about fewer stable jobs, heavy household debt and a wide income gap. Compounding her trouble was a long deadlock that ended just last week over her ambitious proposal to overhaul government structure.

“Because the launch of the Login to read more

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