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Parliament approves education minister nominee

2016/01/08 11:25

SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- The National Assembly on Friday approved President Park Geun-hye's new pick for education minister.

Lee Joon-sik, a seasoned engineering professor at South Korea's top-notch Seoul National University (SNU), won the approval of the parliamentary education and culture committee after he underwent a confirmation hearing at the National Assembly.

Lee will double as deputy prime minister for social affairs.

Born in the southern port city of Busan, the 64-year-old Lee graduated from SNU with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1976 and earned his doctorate in engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985.

Since Berkeley, Lee has been a full-time professor at the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at his alma mater, served as the head of the school's research affairs office in 2011 and a vice president for research affairs for two years till 2014.

Lee will replace Hwang Woo-yea, who plans to run in April's general elections.

The National Assembly will open a plenary session later in the day to vote on the motion to confirm Lee's nomination.

In South Korea, all Cabinet nominees are subject to a parliamentary confirmation hearing, but the parliament does not have the right to veto their appointment. Only a prime minister nominee is required to win the National Assembly's approval in order to be appointed.