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[Editorial] MDP Chairman Should Comply with Prosecution`s Summons

[Editorial] MDP Chairman Should Comply with Prosecution`s Summons

Posted July. 16, 2003 21:49,   


The ruling Millennium Democratic Party chairman Chyung Dai-chul`s refusal to honor a second summons by the prosecution has overshadowed President Roh Moo-hyun`s proposal that both the ruling and opposition parties should come clean about details of their election fundraisings. Even the public is growing suspicious over the real intention of the president`s proposal, as the chairman of his own ruling party has refused to show up for questioning before the prosecution as part of an investigation into alleged bribe-taking from a real estate developer. Should the MDP chairman continue to defy the prosecution, the credibility and even the legitimacy of the president`s proposal will be undermined at a time when civic groups are calling on Chyung to respond at once to the summons.

Aware of gravity of the situation, Cheong Wa Dae clarified its position on the case, saying that politicians involved in individual corruption cases cannot be subject to criminal immunity, and that the investigation into the Good Morning City scandal should be performed free of carried political influence. Above all, the MDP chairman`s refusal to show up for questioning runs counter to his claims of innocence. If such claims are true, he should clear up all suspicions surrounding him by complying with the prosecution`s summons.

The ruling camp`s conflicting stance on the matter has invited harsh criticisms from the opposition party that the president is trying to “drag the GNP down along with the MDP." Even civic groups have warned that the president`s proposal should not be used as a means to avoid a political impasse the ruling party and the president face, as it has already tainted the purity of the president`s intentions in asking for confessions of election fundraising wrongdoings. Therefore, the MDP chairman`s offer to respond to a summons from the prosecution only after pending issues the ruling party faces resolved is unacceptable.

Given the ruling party`s recent move to pressure the prosecution, the government seems to be trying to gloss over illegal fundraising by the ruling MDP and protect the party`s chairman from prosecution by insisting on preferential treatment of National Assemblymen who are exempt from detention while the Assembly is in session. As Chief Prosecutor Chae Dong-wook of the Seoul District Public Prosecutor`s Office mentioned, the government and the prosecution could face a disastrous situation if the case were to be handled inappropriately.

If the ruling party and its chairman refuse to respect the laws of the nation, the nation itself will drift into chaos. The government`s recent policy confusion seems to be caused by a failure to observe the rule of law. The 55th anniversary of the country`s Constitution Day should serve as an occasion for the ruling MDP and Chairman Chyung Dai-chul to reflect on their present deeds and future course of action.