Parties show mixed reactions to PM nomination

SEOUL, May 22 (Yonhap) -- Rival political parties showed mixed reactions Thursday after President Park Geun-hye nominated a new prime minister and sacked two top security officials in her first personnel reshuffle following the Sewol ferry disaster.

Park named former Supreme Court justice Ahn Dai-hee as the new prime minister and accepted the resignations of National Intelligence Service chief Nam Jae-joon and national security adviser Kim Jang-soo, her spokesman Min Kyung-wook said in a press briefing.

Ahn's nomination, which is subject to parliamentary confirmation, comes after current Prime Minister Chung Hong-won offered to resign to take responsibility for the government's poor handling of last month's ferry sinking that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

Nam and Kim have been under pressure to resign as top officials in charge of national security.

The ruling Saenuri Party welcomed the announcement as a "demonstration of (Park's) will to turn over a new leaf."

"By gathering all of our strength and carrying out national reforms, this must be used as an opportunity to become a government that truly serves the people," ruling party spokeswoman Min Hyun-joo said.

Party spokesman Park Dae-chul expressed hope that the prime minister nominee would "wisely overcome the crisis and turn it into hopeful energy for the future," saying the former justice has developed strong principles and rich experiences through his legal career.

The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), however, expressed doubt about Park's choice for prime minister.

"President Park has shown her will to consecutively appoint a former prosecutor, after Prime Minister Chung Hong-won," NPAD spokeswoman Han Jeoung-ae said in a press briefing.

Public expectations for national harmony, unity and comfort following the ferry tragedy were completely neglected, she said, adding that any personnel reshuffle that excludes presidential chief of staff Kim Ki-choon would be "meaningless."

NPAD floor spokesman Park Beom-kye also criticized the nomination, saying the president seeks to "reign" through former prosecutors, rather than engage with the people.

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