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South Korean lawmakers approve President Park's pick for prime minister despite questions

  • South Korean National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa bangs the gavel as he announces passing a confirmation of President Park Geun-hye's nomination of Lee Wan Koo as the country's prime minister during the plenary session at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. South Korea’s ruling party-controlled legislature on Monday approved Park’s choice for prime minister following fierce political wrangling over whether he’s fit for the country’s No. 2 job. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

    South Korean National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa bangs the gavel as he announces passing a confirmation of President Park Geun-hye's nomination of Lee Wan Koo as the country's prime minister during the plenary session at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. South Korea’s ruling party-controlled legislature on Monday approved Park’s choice for prime minister following fierce political wrangling over whether he’s fit for the country’s No. 2 job. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 file photo, South Korea's new Prime Minister nominee Lee Wan Koo swears an oath during a confirmation hearing in order to examine his qualification at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea's ruling party-controlled legislature on Monday, Feb. 16, approved President Park Geun-hye's choice for prime minister following fierce political wrangling over whether he's fit for the country's No. 2 job. The unicameral National Assembly approved the appointment of Lee in a 148-128 vote Monday. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 file photo, South Korea's new Prime Minister nominee Lee Wan Koo swears an oath during a confirmation hearing in order to examine his qualification at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea's ruling party-controlled legislature on Monday, Feb. 16, approved President Park Geun-hye's choice for prime minister following fierce political wrangling over whether he's fit for the country's No. 2 job. The unicameral National Assembly approved the appointment of Lee in a 148-128 vote Monday. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • South Korean opposition lawmakers vote on whether to confirm President Park Geun-hye's nomination of Lee Wan Koo as the country's prime minister during the plenary session at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. South Korea’s ruling party-controlled legislature on Monday approved Park’s choice for prime minister following fierce political wrangling over whether he’s fit for the country’s No. 2 job. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

    South Korean opposition lawmakers vote on whether to confirm President Park Geun-hye's nomination of Lee Wan Koo as the country's prime minister during the plenary session at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. South Korea’s ruling party-controlled legislature on Monday approved Park’s choice for prime minister following fierce political wrangling over whether he’s fit for the country’s No. 2 job. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)  (The Associated Press)

South Korea's ruling party-controlled legislature has approved President Park Geun-hye's choice for prime minister following fierce political wrangling over whether he's fit for the country's No. 2 job.

The National Assembly passed the appointment of Lee Wan Koo in a 148-128 vote Monday. Five lawmakers abstained.

Outgoing Prime Minister Chung Hong-won offered to resign following last year's ferry sinking that killed more than 300 people. Two possible replacements abandoned their nominations because of questions over their past behaviors.

Lee, a senior ruling party lawmaker, has faced similar allegations and liberal lawmakers have demanded his resignation.

South Korea's executive power is concentrated in the president, but the prime minister leads the country if the president becomes incapacitated.