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presidential office-apology


SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- The presidential office issued a public apology Saturday for mishandling personnel affairs after a series of nominees for senior government posts have resigned over alleged ethical lapses and other problems.

"As head of the Presidential Committee for Personnel Affairs, I am very apologetic for causing concern to the people over personnel issues of the new government," presidential chief of staff Huh Tae-yeol said in a statement read by presidential spokeswoman Kim Haing.

"We will try to ensure everything goes right by strengthening the vetting system."

The apology came as President Park Geun-hye's approval ratings have been on the decline in the month since she took office amid public criticism over the series of resignations by nominees for senior jobs.

Six people nominated by Park for ministers and vice ministers have withdrawn so far after questions arose mostly about their ethical standards in the wake of allegations of real estate speculation, tax evasion and other issues.

Three of them resigned before her Feb. 25 inauguration, including former Prime Minister nominee Kim Yong-joon.

"We are preparing improvement measures with regard to how we can more thoroughly figure out (candidates') ethical standards and attitudes as public office holders," spokeswoman Kim said.

The main opposition Democratic United Party denounced the apology as insincere, and demanded Park apologize in person and take disciplinary steps against her chief of staff and other officials involved in personal affairs.

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