(LEAD) Gender minister nominee withdraws herself from consideration

Gender Equality and Family Minister nominee Kim Haeng withdrew herself from consideration Thursday amid calls from the opposition that she is unfit for the job due to a slew of controversies.

Kim has come under fire during a parliamentary confirmation hearing over various suspicions, including those related to Wikitree, an online news outlet co-founded by her. Her resignation came after the ruling People Power Party (PPP) suffered a crushing defeat in this week's by-election for Seoul's Gangseo Ward office.

"I am a member of the People Power Party before becoming a nominee for the gender minister. I have decided to self-resign as the nominee, with an attitude of putting the party first as a party member," Kim said in a message sent to reporters.

The decision also follows suggestions made by some lawmakers during a closed-door PPP meeting earlier in the day, where they proposed that Kim should resign. It appears that they were concerned about her becoming a burden to the party leading up to April's parliamentary elections.

"I am sorry for becoming a burden for President Yoon Suk Yeol," Kim said, expressing hope that her resignation would help the administration and the PPP.

Kim, a journalist-turned-politician, previously served as the first spokesperson for former President Park Geun-hye. Ahead of last year's local elections, she served as a member of the nomination committee of the PPP and then worked as a member of the PPP's emergency leadership committee until early this year.

Since her nomination in September, Kim has faced various allegations, including allegations related to her stock ownership in Wikitree and accusations of approving the publication of gender-discriminatory articles on sexual abuse cases.

During Kim's confirmation hearing on Oct. 5, the rival parties engaged in heated debates over the allegations, resulting in both PPP lawmakers and Kim leaving the meeting room en masse during a short adjournment and not returning.

The opposition party has denounced Kim's act as unprecedented "flight" and demanded her resignation.

A total of five Cabinet nominees, including Kim, have ended up resigning since Yoon took office in May last year.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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