South Korea’s Justice Minister nominee Ahn Kyung-whan withdrew himself from consideration amid snowballing controversy over his alleged ethical lapses, the presidential office said.
Cheong Wa Dae said late Friday that Ahn had decided to turn down President Moon Jae-in’s offer to lead the Ministry of Justice, as he did not want to “stand in the way of the president’s efforts to reform the nation’s prosecution.”
Nominee Ahn Kyong-whan apologizes for misdeeds at a news conference on Friday. (Yonhap)
Ahn’s withdrawal came eight hours after he apologized for a raft of accusations raised against him at a press briefing, including illegal marriage registration and his purported peddling of influence at his son’s high school to prevent him being expelled.
The former head of the nation’s human rights watchdog has also come under fire for sexist comments in his books and columns.
Ahn had said Friday morning that he intended to go through the parliamentary confirmation hearing to “achieve the public’s aspirations” of overhauling the prosecution.
“What happened long ago is clearly my fault. I will never forget that until I die. But it is not desirable for me to have my whole life as a scholar and writer to be denied because of the incident,” he said at the press briefing.
The former nominee added he had no intention to disparage women in his writing, “I sincerely ask you to grasp the full context of the book.”
In the book titled “What is a Man,” Ahn described women as “a necessary companion to alcohol-fueled gatherings.”
“There should be women at alcohol-fueled gatherings. If none, there should be at least mothers-in-law around you,” he said.
Moon nominated Ahn earlier this week, saying his apparent lack of ties to the established powers and ample experience of advocating human rights make him the right person to revamp the prosecution.
By Bak Se-hwan (firstname.lastname@example.org)