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(LEAD) Yoon's pick for health minister withdraws from nomination

Politics 22:36 May 23, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS background in paras 2, 9)

SEOUL, May 23 (Yonhap) -- Health Minister nominee Chung Ho-young withdrew Monday amid controversy over his children's school admissions and other issues.

The former chief of Kyungpook National University Hospital, known to be a 40-year friend of President Yoon Suk—yeol, has been under pressure to step down from both the ruling and opposition parties.

"I will serve as a nest egg for the success of the Yoon Suk-yeol administration and the cooperation between the ruling and opposition parties," Chung said in a statement.

Health Minister nominee Chung Ho-young speaks during his confirmation hearing at the National Assembly on May 3, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

The medical doctor was nominated on April 10 to head the health and welfare ministry.

He immediately came under fire from the main opposition Democratic Party over allegations he may have used his position to help his daughter and son gain admission to the university's medical school and exempt his son from active duty military service. Chung denies the claims.

On Monday, the ruling People Power Party joined the call for his withdrawal amid concerns that his appointment could hinder the party's chances in the June 1 local elections.

"I listened to many lawmakers in the party, and many of them showed objections to Chung's appointment," PPP floor leader Rep. Kweon Seong-dong told reporters. "He needs to decide his future."

Kweon added that he has also delivered the party's opinion to Yoon's office.

Chung is the Yoon administration's second nominee to withdraw. He follows Education Minister nominee Kim In-chul, who dropped out May 3 amid allegations of favoritism related to his family's reception of scholarships from a nonprofit organization.
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