PM Kim to step down this week: official

SEOUL-- Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum is likely to serve until Wednesday and leave office the next day, an official with his office said Monday.

"Kim's retirement ceremony is expected to take place at the government complex in Seoul at 10 a.m. Thursday," the official said. "He will finish his term midnight Wednesday."

Kim reportedly decided to step down before the first Cabinet meeting of incoming President Yoon Suk-yeol. Speculation has been rising that Yoon, who will take office Tuesday, may hold an extraordinary Cabinet meeting Thursday to handle an extra budget bill aimed at helping pandemic-hit small merchants.

Han Duck-soo has been nominated as the first prime minster of the incoming government, but he has yet to receive the National Assembly's approval. In South Korea, the prime minister is the only Cabinet post that requires parliamentary approval.

Before his retirement, Kim is expected to recommend the appointment of Finance Minister nominee Choo Kyung-ho, who is also named to double as the deputy prime minister for economic affairs.

Choo is cleared for appointment after the National Assembly adopted his confirmation hearing report. He is expected to serve as acting prime minister after Kim retires.

Others speculate Kim may also recommend the appointment of other minister nominees whose confirmation hearing reports have been adopted by the National Assembly.

So far, hearing reports on seven minister nominees, including defense, labor and science minister designates, have been adopted.

Source: Yonhap News Agency