(ATTN: ADDS response from ruling, main opposition parties in paras 3, 4)
SEOUL, May 16 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol on Monday asked leaders of the ruling and opposition parties for cooperation in approving Prime Minister nominee Han Duck-soo, the head of the ruling People Power Party (PPP) said.
Yoon's request was made as he met leaders of the PPP, the Democratic Party (DP) and the Justice Party, as well as National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug, before he delivered a budget speech, PPP Chairman Lee Jun-seok told reporters.
During the meeting, Yoon called for opposition cooperation for Han's confirmation, saying the nominee was the only candidate that was in his mind even before his election as president, according to PPP floor leader Rep. Kweong Seong-dong.
Last week, Yoon formally asked the National Assembly to approve Han, but the PPP and the DP failed to agree on a date to hold a plenary session for Han's confirmation.
Later in the day, the DP called on Yoon to apologize first for nominating what it called were "inappropriate" people for the Cabinet if he truly wants bipartisan cooperation, referring apparently to the nominees for justice minister and health minister.
In South Korea, the prime minister is the only Cabinet post that requires parliamentary approval.
A parliamentary confirmation hearing committee of the DP has declared Han as "unqualified," citing his post-retirement career at a law firm and other suspicions of irregularities.
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