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Independent Counsel Act Sees Renewed Trouble

Posted March. 03, 2003 22:32,   


President Roh reportedly said yesterday that he wishes to meet political leaders of both parties to discuss various social issues including the checkbook diplomacy scandal of Kim Dae Jung, and appointment of independent counsel.

The Grand National Party, however, is showing a lukewarm attitude toward Roh`s suggestion, casting a cloud on the success of the meeting. The party deems Roh`s proposal as a precursor to the President`s efforts to restart negotiations for revision of the Independent Counsel Act.

In a staff meeting held yesterday morning, Roh`s chief aide Yoo In-tae reportedly suggested, "It would be better off meeting political leaders of both parties to discuss the Independent Counsel Act." In response, according to Blue House spokesperson Song Kyung-hee, Roh agreed and said he would give it a try.

"It seems wise to compromise the scope of the independent counsel`s investigative authority to balance the public`s right to know with the nation`s interests. In my opinion, the National Assembly should reach a compromise and draft a new version of the Independent Counsel Act. Thus, the counsel would be allowed to thoroughly investigate how secret aid to the North was handled. That way, it should be left untouched as to how it was handled overseas," Yoo said, in testimony before the National Assembly.

"The President may be forced to veto the bill [which was unilaterally passed through the National Assembly by the Grand National Party]. To avoid this situation, we suggested that both parties come up with a modified version of the legislation. But, Mr. Roh did not make any comment," spokesperson Song said,

"It is possible the President could meet both party leaders at the same time. It is, however, more likely that he would meet the opposition leaders. When I met Blue House staff members last week, I told them what Millennium Party Democrats really want and asked for an arrangement on the meeting of political leaders," Chung Dae-chul, Millennium Democrat leader, said in a meeting with senior party members.

Grand National Party spokesperson Park Chong-hee dismissed the proposal and said, "We have taken each and every legal step we had to take to pass the Act. In addition, the demands of the Millennium Democratic Party have been incorporated. It`s the best version we could put together. There will be no more negotiations. Period!"

Acting party leader of the MDP, Park Hee-tae commented, "I have not received any official notice so far. For now, I have nothing to comment."