South Korean president nominates new prime minister

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Friday nominated ruling party lawmaker Lee Wan Koo to replace Prime Minister Chung Hong-won nearly 10 months after Chung offered to resign over a ferry disaster that killed more than 300 people in April last year.

Park also reshuffled her secretarial units and plans to introduce a team of special policy advisers in a shake-up that follows criticism about her allegedly poor communications with the public and lack of transparency in personnel decisions, presidential official Yoon Du-hyun said in a televised briefing.

South Korea's executive power is concentrated in the president but the prime minister leads the country if the president becomes incapacitated.

Park decided to retain Chung in June after two possible replacements for the job abandoned their nominations because of questions over past behavior. Chung will hold his No. 2 spot in the government until Lee gains approval from lawmakers.

Park saw Lee as an ideal prime ministerial candidate to help her press ahead with efforts to improve the economy and push reform measures, Yoon said.

"If I pass the parliamentary hearing to become prime minister, I will give all I have to reviving the economy in presiding over the Cabinet," Lee told reporters.

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