(LEAD) Ahn says he won’t be in new government’s cabinet

(ATTN: UPDATES with Ahn’s announcement in paragraphs 1-4; CHANGES title)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) — Transition Committee Chairman Ahn Cheol-soo said on Wednesday that he would not serve in the new government’s cabinet, officially stepping down from the new president’s first prime minister’s bid. Yoon Suk-yeol.

Ahn, a key Yoon ally who dropped out of the presidential race to back Yoon, said he decided to stay out of cabinet to give Yoon the chance to “broadcast his will.” Instead, Ahn said he would focus on broadening the future ruling party’s support base ahead of local elections in June.

“I determined that after developing a master plan and setting the direction of a good image for the next government as chairman of the transition committee, not directly participating in the Cabinet would actually ease the burden of President-elect Yoon. Suk-yeol,” he said. told reporters at the office of the transition team.

Ahn said he told Yoon his intention on Tuesday and the president-elect expressed his understanding.

Yoon has started vetting candidates for prime minister and is expected to announce his choice early next week.

Given Yoon’s focus on rescuing small businesses from the COVID-19 crisis, one of the strongest candidates for the job would be former prime minister Han Duck-soo.

Han is a trade expert and a former ambassador to the United States.

Given Yoon’s emphasis on promoting national unity, some of the most serious candidates are former Democratic Party leader Kim Han-gil and former Deputy Assembly Speaker Park Joo- sun.

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