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Cheong Wa Dae At War With Lee Myung-bak

Posted July. 12, 2007 03:28,   


Cheong Wa Dae is “waging a war” against Lee Myung-bak, a Grand National Party (GNP) presidential candidate. In regular daily briefing sessions Cheon Ho-seon, Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson, criticizes the former mayor for the Lee camp’s accusations regarding the government’s political maneuvering and his campaign pledges on taxation.

Cheon blamed the accusation on the government’s political meddling, using harsh words such as “Imprudent political libeling.” “It is business as usual for the GNP,” he said. As for Lee’s campaign promises on tax, he stated, “His policy will lead the barely stabile housing prices to soar.” The former mayor suggested on Monday that the comprehensive real estate tax, which is a state tax, will be integrated with local taxes, such as property tax and auto tax, to form a “property holding tax.”

The “Cheong Wa Dae vs. Lee camp” war began on June 18 when the presidential office took legal action against Lee’s spokespersons Park Hyeong-jun and Jin Su-hui; to which the two representatives took counter-legal action.

The fact that Cheong Wa Dae and a key presidential hopeful from the opposition party have waged an all-out war is unprecedented. It could possibly mean the determination of Cheong Wa Dae not to be embroiled in the political accusations of the Lee camp.

The recent controversy surrounding the National Election Commission was related to the counterarguments that president Roh and Cheong Wa Dae could bring forth information against the Lee camp’s accusation of political maneuvering. With the exception of Cheong Wa Dae’s spokesperson, the presidential public relations office and senior secretary for civil affairs, Moon Jae-in, also joined the “attacks.”

The public relations office argued on Wednesday in the writing posted on “Cheong Wa Dae Newsletter,” “The former mayor’s pledge is tantamount to the abolition of the comprehensive real estate taxes;” explaining further, “If the current comprehensive taxes are repealed, it could trigger speculation and the associated increased housing prices would lead to instability in the housing market. This could bring great harm to ordinary citizens. The upcoming presidential elections are not for the real estate rich or the residents in Gangnam areas.”

The government agency also pointed out regarding the Lee camp’s criticism of the government’s political meddling on June 28, “The accusation is reminiscent of an old tactic from the authoritarian governments.” Senior secretary for civil affairs, Moon Jae-in, said on June 20 at a press conference, “The denunciation by the Lee camp, making Cheong Wa Dae a scapegoat, is nothing but a display of mean attitudes.”

President Roh has restrained himself from involvement in the political fray. However, he showed his dissatisfaction with Lee on June 22, saying, “Campaign pledges too should be put under verification scrutiny. The Lee camp seems to have issues with Cheong Wa Dae for the inquiry.” He is apparently unsatisfied with the decision by the NES on June 17.

The presidential office also criticized Sohn Hak-gyu, former governor of Gyeonggi province. Cheon said, “The GNP’s education policy is to revive the college entrance examination, but the presidential candidates such as Park, Lee, and Sohn, argued for giving universities autonomy.” That remark was focused on the fact that the former governor Sohn was from the GNP.

The spokesperson added the opinion of considering Sohn as “A presidential runner of the pro-ruling party. “Whether or not Sohn joins the integration of the parties against the GNP is none of our business,” he said.