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S Korea's Roh names woman lawmaker prime minister

By Staff
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SEOUL, Mar 24 (Reuters) South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun named a member of parliament and former feminist leader prime minister today, the presidential Blue House said.

Han Myeong-sook, a two-term parliamentarian and former minister for gender equality, would become the first woman prime minister in South Korea if approved by parliament. She would replace a powerful veteran legislator who quit over a golfing gaffe.

Han's selection, announced by the Blue House, comes ahead of elections to choose provincial governors, mayors and county officers on May 31.

If confirmed, Han will take over from Lee Hae-chan, a five-term member of the unicameral National Assembly with the ruling Uri Party and a close confidant of Roh. Lee quit over criticism for playing golf with businessmen on a public holiday while a railway strike caused transport chaos.

South Korean prime ministers are usually figureheads under strong presidents, although Roh gave Lee sweeping power on domestic policy.

REUTERS CH SP1058

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