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(LEAD) Parliament endorses PM nominee

2015/02/16 15:57

SEOUL, Feb. 16 (Yonhap) -- The National Assembly endorsed prime minister nominee Lee Wan-koo on Monday after a weeks-long controversy over his eligibility for the job.

The controversy centered on allegations that Lee, the preceding floor leader of the ruling Saenuri Party, was unfit for the second-highest political office due to various ethical issues, including his apparent attempts to stop the press from carrying negative reports about him.

The confirmation motion passed 148-128, while five votes were deemed invalid.

Despite strong objections from the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), Lee's confirmation motion was widely expected to pass as his ruling party commands a majority in parliament with 158 out of 295 seats. A confirmation motion passes with majority approval in a vote attended by at least half of all lawmakers.

The vote was postponed once last week after NPAD refused to endorse the nominee and demanded he step down.

It was unclear until immediately before the start of Monday's plenary session whether the opposition party would cast their ballots in the vote as some hard-line lawmakers had called for a boycott.