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Park-nominations

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SEOUL, March 21 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye on Thursday named a Constitutional Court justice as chief of the top court and a business administration professor as head of the Small and Medium Business Administration (SMBA), her spokesman said.

Park Han-cheol, who has served as a member of the court's nine-member bench since 2011, was tapped to lead the court, while Han Jung-wha, dean of Seoul's Hanyang University Business School, was named to head the government body in charge of small and medium enterprises, presidential spokesman Yoon Chang-jung said in a press briefing.

Park chose the justice based on his professionalism and ability, and Han based on his professionalism and hands-on experience, he added.

The seat of Constitutional Court chief has been vacant since the end of January when the former head retired. Then President Lee Myung-bak named former Constitutional Court justice Lee Dong-heub to fill the vacancy but the nominee resigned last month under pressure over allegations of a series of ethical lapses, including tax evasion and speculative real estate investment.

Han's nomination came three days after the former nominee for SMBA chief stepped down over a law that required him to place his corporate holdings in a "blind trust" during his time in office.

Park also named two Constitutional Court justices -- Cho Yong-ho, the chief of the Seoul High Court, and Suh Ki-suhk, the chief of the Seoul Central District Court, the spokesman said.

The nominations of the Constitutional Court chief and the justices are subject to parliamentary confirmation hearings, but only the chief's nomination is put to a National Assembly vote. The parliament does not have the right to reject the nominations.

Cho and Suh would fill the vacancies created by the retirement of the former Constitutional Court chief and this Friday's retirement of a justice who has been serving as the interim chief.

Each Constitutional Court justice serves a six-year term.

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