By Jung Da-min
President Moon Jae-in is expected to reshuffle his Cabinet as early as this week as part of his efforts to refresh his administration following the ruling party’s crushing defeat in the April 7 by-elections. The reshuffle, which could be the last one before his term ends in May 2022, is likely to feature high-profile Cabinet members, including Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki, as the President said he would be committed to overcoming economic difficulties and stabilizing the livelihood of the people amid the COVID-19 pandemic as well as addressing the land speculation scandal involving employees of state-run Korea Land and Housing Corporation.
The reshuffle is expected to come after the prime minister returns from Iran, Tuesday. Chung had earlier expressed his intention to join the next presidential election, slated for March 2022, and is expected to resign from his position soon to focus on his presidential bid. Chung flew to Tehran, Sunday, for bilateral talks amid lingering tensions over Tehran’s call to unlock its funds frozen here under U.S. sanctions.
The defeat of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) by the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) in the recent by-elections is widely believed to be attributed to public disappointment with the Moon administration over its failed real estate policies and soaring housing prices.
Adding to the public anger was a recent housing scandal involving employees of state-run Land and Housing Corporation, which also spread into politics, with some ruling-bloc figures also allegedly involved in improper real estate deals.
In the mayoral by-elections in the nation’s two largest cities of Seoul and Busan, the PPP candidates took both seats.