Yoon likely to appoint only 5 senior secretaries, 1 senior officer

SEOUL-- President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol is considering appointing only five senior secretaries and one senior officer as part of his plan to downsize the presidential office, officials said Thursday.

Yoon had promised during the campaign to abolish the system of senior presidential secretaries amid criticism the appointees wielded excessive power in government.

But officials said the president-elect is now looking into keeping the system largely in tact, given the roles each office plays, and scrapping only the positions of senior secretaries for civil affairs and jobs.

"We're considering a system of five senior secretaries and one senior officer," one official close to the president-elect said, noting the position of senior officer would be newly installed, below the level of senior secretary but above the level of secretary, and oversee personnel issues.

The five-plus-one structure would effectively inherit the roles of six of the eight senior secretary offices currently assisting outgoing President Moon Jae-in.

Among the reported candidates for senior economic secretary are former Vice Finance Minister Choi Sang-mok and Kim So-young, an economics professor at Seoul National University.

Ahn Sang-hoon, a professor of social welfare at SNU, is considered a strong contender for senior social secretary, while former Rep. Lee Jin-bok is widely mentioned for senior political secretary.

Former Rep. Kang Seung-kyoo is considered a candidate for senior civil society secretary, while no names have emerged for senior communications secretary.

Source: Yonhap News Agency