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(LEAD) Park delves into formation of transition team

All Headlines 21:39 December 23, 2012

(ATTN: UPDATES with Park's possible naming of chief of staff, spokesperson)

SEOUL, Dec. 23 (Yonhap) -- Limiting her public appearances, President-elect Park Geun-hye spent the first weekend after her victory on how to form a transition committee set to launch next week, her aides said Sunday.

The daughter of the late authoritarian President Park Chung-hee was elected the country's first female president in last Wednesday's election.

"She will take her time over the weekend to mull over key members of the presidential transition team, while taking a rest after more than 160 days of a grueling campaign," said Park's aide, requesting anonymity.

The details about the committee are likely to be announced on Wednesday, a day after Christmas, according to her aides.

One of Park's aides told Yonhap News Agency that the president-elect could name her chief of staff and spokesperson as early as Monday, before completing the transition team.

"Even if forming the transition committee is pushed back, it's necessary to appoint the chief of staff and the spokesperson as soon as possible," the aide said. "That will help facilitate the (selection) work."

Sources said Choi Kyoung-hwan, a former chief of staff for Park during the early part of her presidential campaign, is considered a front-runner for the chief of staff position. Choi stepped down from his chief of staff post in Park's camp in early October under pressure from reformists within the ruling Saenuri Party that held Choi and other aides responsible for the sputtering campaign. Choi, though, has remained one of the closest confidants for the president-elect.

Another likely candidate is Kwon Young-se, a senior campaign manager for Park, according to sources.

Cho Yoon-sun and Lee Sang-il, currently co-spokespeople for the Saenuri Party, will likely vie for the spokesperson position on the transition team, according to sources. Lee Jung-hyun, who served as the communications director for Park's campaign, is also said to be in the running.

The selection is closely being watched as many of the team members will join the Cabinet or the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae upon her inauguration in February.

Another aide said the transition team may not be fielded by Wednesday. Previous presidential transition committees have had about 200 people, but Park, who has maintained she would cut government spending, is expected to build her team with about 100 individuals.

Though the 60-year-old Park of the conservative ruling Saenuri Party has not made comments on the matter, she is widely expected to appoint figures with wide-spanning backgrounds as part of her efforts to achieve "great unity of the people."

Key principles will include "hiring more women, experts majoring in science and engineering, and figures from the Jeolla provinces," the bastion of liberal parties, an aide said. "She is also highly likely to appoint officials who are well-versed in real-world situations to fulfill her election promises."

Meanwhile, Park conveyed her Christmas message via Twitter late Saturday, hoping for "a warm society with sharing and love."


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