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South Korea’s prime minister nominee withdraws

May 28, 2014

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s prime minster-nominee withdrew from consideration Wednesday following growing public criticism over his alleged ethical lapses.

President Park Geun-hye nominated former Supreme Court justice Ahn Dai-hee last week to replace the current prime minister, who offered to resign to take responsibility for last month’s ferry sinking.

Ahn’s withdrawal is expected to hurt Park, who has been pushing to reorganize her government to restore public confidence after the disaster that left more than 300 people dead or missing, most of them high school students.

Ahn’s nomination required approved by the legislature.

Opposition lawmakers and media outlets have criticized Ahn following revelations he earned $1.6 million by working as a lawyer in the latter half of last year. Critics say the amount was too much and suspect that was possible due to a tradition that former senior judges and prosecutors get special favors in the initial lawsuits they assume as lawyers after retirements.

In a televised news conference, Ahn denied he intended to get such favors. He said he was withdrawing to avoid being a political burden on the Park government and to spare his family further suffering due to criticism of him.

South Korean executive power is largely concentrated in the president, but the prime minister leads the country if the president becomes incapacitated.

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