Chief of Staff Chang Je-won plans to recommend around five candidates to Yoon after receiving their profiles from the president-elect’s human resources team, and the formal vetting process is expected to begin this week, the sources said.
“Considering the time required for the parliamentary confirmation process, we have to start vetting prime minister candidates early this week at the latest,” one source close to the president-elect said.
Given Yoon’s emphasis on rescuing small businesses from the COVID-19 crisis, one of the strongest contenders for the job is thought to be former Prime Minister Han Duck-soo.
Han is a trade expert and a former ambassador to the United States.
Other names on the list include Yim Jong-yong, former chairman of the Financial Services Commission; Choi Joong-kyung, former minister of knowledge economy; former Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-hyun; and Chin Dae-je, former minister of information and communication.
Considering Yoon’s emphasis on promoting national unity, some of the strongest contenders are former Democratic Party leader Kim Han-gil and former Vice Assembly Speaker Park Joo-sun, as well as former Rep. Joo Seung-yong.
Ahn Cheol-soo, chief of Yoon’s transition committee, has been talked about as a future prime minister ever since he dropped out of the presidential race to support Yoon’s presidential campaign.
Among politicians, potential candidates include Kwon Young-se, vice chairman of the transition committee, and Kim Gi-hyeon, floor leader of Yoon’s People Power Party.
In academia, contenders include Suh Seoung-hwan, former president of Yonsei University, and Yeom Jae-ho, former president of Korea University. (Yonhap)