Lee Hae-chan (born July 10, 1952) is a former Prime Minister of South Korea. He was nominated by president Roh Moo-hyun on June 8, 2004, confirmed by the National Assembly on June 29, and took office on June 30. He is a member of the liberal Uri Party, and was elected five times for the National Assembly. On March 14, 2006, he resigned amidst the so called golf game scandal.
He also served as the minister of education under former president Kim Dae-jung from 1998 to 1999, presiding over controversial education reforms including revamping the college entrance process and lowering the retirement age of teachers. The first reform in particular, which at the time was summed up in the slogan that being good at one thing was enough to get into college, was criticised for allegedly lowering dramatically the scholastic competence of the so-called "Lee Hae-chan generation" of then-high school students.
His nomination as prime minister met some resistance due to his record as minister of education, which many consider a failure. Since taking office, however, Lee has proved an able prime minister, being described by some as the most powerful prime minister South Korea has seen.
On March 1, 2006, the Korean Railroad Workers Union and Seoul Subway Union entered a strike together. The strike of railroad and subway at the same time proved to be a fatal blow at the nation's economic activity, especially Seoul area, where traffic heavily depend on subway, which is controlled by these two unions. Prime Minister Lee was supposed to command the situation and mediate the strike; however, he was playing golf at Busan area with local businessmen, and this caused massive distaste among Korean people against Lee for not taking care of the government and people.
Famous quotes containing the words lee and/or hae:
“Novelties and notions? What kind of notions you got?”
—Mae West, U.S. screenwriter, W.C. Fields, and Edward Cline. Flower Belle Lee (Mae West)
“Ye Highlands and ye Lawlands.
Oh! where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl of Murray,
And hae laid him on the green.”
—Unknown. The Bonny Earl of Murray (l. 14)