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Pres.-elect Park blasts abuse of pardons for Korea`s elite

Pres.-elect Park blasts abuse of pardons for Korea`s elite

Posted January. 29, 2013 03:31,   


President-elect Park Geun-hye has blasted the abuse of the presidential authority to grant pardons to the privileged class, such as the owners of conglomerates and politicians.

“You cannot make people abide by the law and get law and order to take root in an environment where the powerful and the wealthy are not responsible for their wrongdoings,” she said at a forum for political leaders hosted by the Korea News Editors’ Association on July 16 last year, when she was the presidential candidate of the ruling Saenuri Party, adding, “The president should not abuse the power of pardon.”

She has always remained vocal over her opposition to the abuse of this presidential right. In a forum on the economy for potential presidential candidates hosted by The Dong-A Ilbo in 2007, she urged restraint on frequent pardons granted to businessmen, saying, “We should firmly set the rule of law by limiting the scope of the president’s pardoning power when it comes to crimes committed by the privileged.”

Her comments were in contrast to those made by President Lee Myung-bak, who said during his election campaign, “We should give an opportunity to those who had to let their company go bankrupt for inevitable reasons in economic activities.”

When Park led the then Grand National Party (now Saenuri) in 2004, she blasted Goh Kun, then prime minister who was acting on behalf of President Roh by refusing to revise a law that limits the president’s power to pardon. She said, “The public doesn`t like abuse of pardoning power. I can’t understand why he vetoed the bill.”

President-elect Park, however, is known that she does not oppose pardoning those in an economically dire position in the interest of national integration, implying that she can consider pardoning those who committed crimes for the sake of livelihood or were imprisoned for political reasons. Yet she rejects pardons for the president’s confidants or corporate executives who committed crimes. According to a source close to Park, someone implicated in corruption should not expect to get pardoned.