Asia-Pacific

New prime minister appointed in South Korea reshuffle

New South Korean PM Kim Tae-ho (l) and President Lee Myung-Bak (r)
Image caption Kim Tae-ho (left) will be South Korea's youngest prime minister for almost 40 years if confirmed

South Korea's President, Lee Myung-bak, has replaced the prime minister and seven ministers in the biggest cabinet reshuffle since he took office in 2008.

His nominee to be prime minister, Kim Tae-ho, was once a provincial governor.

Chung Un-chan stepped down as prime minister after parliament rejected the government's plans for a new city.

The reshuffle also comes less than two weeks after Mr Lee's Grand National Party won parliamentary by-elections seen as a referendum on the president.

In June, the ruling party suffered a major defeat in local elections.

Sunday's shake-up was "aimed at solidifying the keynote of moderate pragmatism-oriented policy based on communication and integrity", presidential spokesman Hong Sang-pyo said.

In addition to nominating Mr Kim for the largely-ceremonial premiership, the president also named new ministers of education, culture, agriculture, health, labour, the knowledge economy and special affairs. The key ministers of foreign affairs, defence and unification were not affected.

Mr Kim, the 47-year-old former governor of South Gyeongsang province, will be South Korea's youngest prime minister for almost 40 years if parliament confirms his appointment.

The BBC's John Sudworth in Seoul says he has long been mentioned as a rising star and is credited with leading several successful development projects along South Gyeongsang's coast.

Halfway through his five-year term, it appears that President Lee is looking for new energy to try to get things done that have not yet been possible and to cement some of his successes, our correspondent adds.

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