Assembly endorses prime minister nominee

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A National Assembly panel has chose to adopt a report on the outcome of the confirmation hearing of Prime Minister nominee Lee Nak-yon.

The appointment of Mr Lee, 65, was approved with 164 votes from the 299-member National Assembly, of whom 188 members voted.

President Moon Jae-in is allowed to appoint his cabinet members with recommendations from the prime minister.

After the report is issued, Lee's case is expected to be sent to a parliamentary plenary session for a vote Wednesday. Unlike, the PM nominee, Suh's appointment does not require consent from parliament, however, if he takes his post amid extreme opposition, critics say it could set the stage for more conflict down the road. Twenty disapproved while two abstained, with two votes listed as invalid.

The LKP has called Lee unfit for the government's No. 2 post due to his wife's use of a false address in 1989 to get assigned to a school in southern Seoul as a teacher.

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False residence registration is a legal offense that former high-level nominees had committed mainly for real estate speculation. An agreement was reached in a meeting of the lawmakers in charge of the hearing, although the main opposition Korea Liberty Party was not present.

The LKP with 107 seats has yet to decide whether to join the vote, while the minor Bareun Party with 20 seats said it would vote against Lee.

A simple majority of votes is required to approve a prime minister designate. The People's Party, which has a casting vote, chose to cooperate after the Moon's announcement, so Lee's confirmation is likely to come within this week.

Currently, the new liberal president runs the Cabinet with a series of holdovers from the former conservative government.

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