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South Korea parliament approves Park's pick for PM after scandal

Park Geun Hye, South Korea's president, speaks during an interview at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday, on Jan 10, 2014.

[SEOUL] South Korea's parliament approved President Park Geun-hye's choice for prime minister on Thursday after the incumbent stepped down following an allegation he accepted illegal campaign funds from a businessman.

The post of prime minister is largely ceremonial in South Korea with the main responsibility being the head of the cabinet. Three nominees have had to step down before confirmation after allegations of impropriety surfaced.

Ms Park's nominee is Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, a career prosecutor whom Ms Park's office said was the right person to clean up corruption and help bring about political reform.

Following parliament's approval, Mr Hwang must be formally named by the president and sworn in before he becomes prime minister.

Ms Park has vowed to clean up political corruption as her conservative Saenuri Party tries to maintain its parliamentary majority in a general election to be held early next year.

Ms Park's public support has dipped below the 35 per cent mark in recent weeks because of criticism her government was slow to respond to an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

Mr Hwang is the third prime minister to serve in under Ms Park who began a single five-year term in February 2013.