SEOUL, South Korea?The man nominated to be South Korea's next prime minister put himself out of contention on Sunday amid a mounting scandal over alleged misconduct while he was a provincial governor.
Kim Tae-Ho, 47, was put forward for the job three weeks ago in President Lee Myung-Bank's biggest cabinet reshuffle.
"I am giving up the designation in order not to do more damage to the president's political operations," he said in a press conference.
"Even if I become the prime minister, how could I do anything if I do not have people's trust?" he said.
Kim came under fire during a parliament confirmation hearing last week over charges that he under-reported income, illegally took bank loans for election campaigns, and made local government employees to do his household chores while he was governor of South Gyeongsang province in the southeast.
Lawmakers also criticized Kim's wife for using provincial government employees and public vehicles for private purposes.
Kim was also criticized for lying about links to a local businessman jailed for offering bribes to politicians.
The ruling and opposition parties had agreed on Friday to postpone a vote on Kim's confirmation, scheduled to take place on the same day, until September 1 amid questions over his suitability for the role.
The presidential office, announcing his nomination on August 8, said Kim was expected to play a key role in improving communications with the younger generation. He would have been the youngest prime minister for almost 40 years.
Lee's conservative ruling Grand National Party suffered a major defeat in June local elections, although it bounced back by unexpectedly winning five of eight parliamentary by-elections on July 28.