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“It’s Time President Admits He Was Wrong” – GNP

Posted July. 13, 2007 07:46,   


Regarding President Roh Moo-hyun’s constitutional petition filed with the Constitutional Court against the National Election Committee (NEC), this newspaper exclusively reported that the NEC submitted a written response claiming that the President’s petition did not make any sense to the Constitutional Court. The report is drawing attention from political and legal circles because the NEC, which is a claimee, made public its detailed opinion on the issue for the first time.

In a party leadership meeting, GNP whip Kim Hyeong-oh said, “The NEC’s opinion is only natural. It is time for the President to admit that he was wrong and to start talking with the opposition party about a fair election.”

Judge-turned spokesperson Nah Gyeong-won of the GNP claimed, “Of course, the NEC’s answer makes legal sense. And the fact that the President, who used to practice law, made a constitutional appeal, knowing full-well that his appeal made no sense amounts to ‘willful disregard of law’ and ‘annoying the public on purpose.’

Spokesperson Yoo Jong-pil of the newly established Integrated Democratic Party (IDP) said, “I respect the decision of the NEC. If the president visits a foreign country in his capacity as a Korean citizen, are there newspaper reports such as ‘A Korean citizen named Roh Moo-hyun visits’? He, of course, would be referred to as President Roh Moo-hyun.”

Cheong Wa Dae, however, expressed its displeasure in calling it a “typical claimee comment.” In its press release, the PR office of the Cheong Wa Dae even posted on its official web site a table with a detailed counter-response to the listing of NEC’s rebuttal to the president’s constitutional appeal.

Presidential spokesperson Cheon Ho-seon criticized the NEC in a briefing, saying, “Because the NEC made public its answers, we were forced to rebut. The election watchdog should have refrained from doing it even if it was required to do so by the National Assembly.”

Spokesperson Seo Hye-seok of the Uri Party said, “Regarding the qualification of the President to file a constitutional petition, there are differing opinions among legal experts. Therefore, more time is needed. The two parties, who are in charge of ensuring fair elections, are at odds with each other. And that is enough to render the public worried.

The NEC was worried that this issue would be seen as a conflict between constitutional bodies.

NEC press secretary Yang Geum-seok said, “It may be inappropriate for the NEC to respond one by one to media reports or to Cheong Wa Dae’s claims. But during the filing process of the constitutional petition, the NEC will publicly express its opinions if it needs to do so. Many members of our committee believe the NEC’s actions to be correct.” A member of the committee complained: “The NEC’s job is to ensure fair elections but we are being diverted to spend our energy on unrelated issues.”

The Constitutional Court did not comment on the issue. An official of the nation’s highest court said, “At this point we are not at liberty to give our two cents. We will decide after hearing from both sides.”

Meanwhile, the election supervisory body said that Cheong Wa Dae’s disclosure of the President’s written questions to the NEC does not constitute a breach of the election law; explaining further that it was in the format similar to news reports and was not intended to purposefully or gravely affect the result of the December election.