Arrest warrant issued for Choi Soon-sil
Key cabinet ministers sacked amid scandal
Embattled South Korean president Park Geun-hye has sacked the country’s prime minister amid an ongoing political scandal that threatens to topple her administration.
Protesters have been calling for Park to resign since revelations last week that her confidante and spiritual adviser Choi Soon-sil may have seen secret government documents and influenced policy.
A warrant was issued Wednesday for Choi’s arrest on charges of abuse of power and attempted fraud, Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office told CNN.
In an apparent attempt to stem the scandal Wednesday, Park nominated three new senior officials to her cabinet.
Kim Byong-joon, a professor at Seoul’s Kookmin University, will replace Hwang Kyo-ahn as prime minister, the president’s office confirmed to CNN.
In South Korea, the premiership is largely a ceremonial position, but its holder serves as deputy to the president.
Yim Jong-yong and Park Seung-joo were named finance minister and national safety minister respectively. Both have previously served as cabinet ministers.
The positions will have to be approved by the National Assembly, South Korea’s parliament.
Multiple aides to President Park have resigned in the wake of the scandal, including four senior secretaries responsible for matters such as political affairs and policy coordination.
Analysts have doubted whether Park can survive the scandal simply by replacing her cabinet, given that it largely concerns her personal judgment.
In a televised apology, Park admitted Choi had looked at “some documents,” and said “my heart is breaking” over the concerns caused to the public.
CNN’s Yoonjung Seo reported from Seoul, while James Griffiths wrote and reported from Hong Kong.