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Roh Accused of Breaching Election Law

Posted June. 04, 2007 06:16,   


“The thought of the Grand National Party taking power makes me shudder in fear,” President Roh Moo-hyun said on Saturday.

President Roh’s blunt criticism against the two leading GNP contenders - former Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak and former GNP Chairperson Park Geun-hye - has emerged as a bone of contention as the election law prohibits public servants from participating in electioneering.

The GNP is planning to file charges with the National Election Commission after discussing within the party whether Roh’s remarks violated laws.

“After obtaining materials about President Roh’s speech, we will examine whether he violated the election law. We’ll carry out a comprehensive review whether his remarks were a mere expression of his political view or significant enough to impact the election,” an official of the NEC said.

Clause 9 of the current Public Office Election Act states that public servants are prohibited from exerting political influence on elections or from engaging in activities that may affect the outcomes of elections. Moreover, Clause 65 of the current Civil Service Law stipulates that civil servants are banned from supporting or protesting against a particular political party or politician.

President Roh, who participated in the “Participatory Government Assessment Forum” on that day, criticized Lee`s campaign pledge to construct a grand canal. "I heard that the grand canal project would be funded by private investors. However, who in their right mind would invest in such a project? They are trying to pick an obvious fight because no one is interested in participating in the project," Roh said. “Those who pledge seven percent economic growth make me anxious since they might create an economic crisis with extreme pump-priming policies.”

Roh also criticized Park for being the daughter of former President Park Chung-hee, “If the foreign media discovers that she is the daughter of a dictator, it will consequently question her legitimacy as president.” With regard to Park’s campaign pledge regarding the ferry-train project, Roh also said, “It had already been judged as unreasonable in 2000 when I was the Minister of the Maritime Affairs & Fisheries.”

In response, Lee said on Sunday, “The president should be careful about what he says in public in the future.” Park’s spokesman Rep. Han Sun-kyo also said, “There is nothing new worth replying to in his speech. He will inflict more pain on the people in the remaining eight months of his tenure.”

“It is up to the people and history to assess the participatory government. It’s now time for him to focus on state affairs,” said Rep. Suh Hye-suk, the spokeswoman of the Uri Party. “Attacking GNP party contenders is not appropriate because it could trigger political strife,” said Rep Yang Hyung-il, spokesman of the New Party for Centrist Reform.