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Ex-rival urges Pres. Park to take responsibility for election-meddling scandals

Ex-rival urges Pres. Park to take responsibility for election-meddling scandals

Posted October. 24, 2013 07:26,   


Moon Jae-in, a lawmaker of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) who rivaled President Park Geun-hye in last year`s presidential race, issued a statement Thursday urging the president to "bear heavy responsibility" for the "unfair" presidential election.

"It is an unpardonable crime for state organizations to intervene in an election," Moon said in the statement. He also held the president responsible for the election with strong language, saying that Korea was "not operating as a normal democratic country" and that he was "appalled" by "the military`s election intervention which has been rare since the days of the military dictatorships."

After issuing the statement, Moon told reporters at the National Assembly that President Park has been avoided the issue, claiming that it has nothing to do with her. "If she is to make a decision (on the issue), the precondition is that she should not try to evade it."

He also told reporters that it was "unfortunate" for the country to be bound by the issue of the last presidential election even 10 months after it was over. "I think that President Park is the only one who can solve this problem." He indicated that the president was holding the key to disentangle the political impasse caused by the alleged election meddling by state organizations including the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and the military, and controversies over political pressures on prosecutors investigating the spy agency`s involvement.

Moon`s aides said that he issued the statement using strong language because of the severity of the state organizations` alleged election intervention. They added that while the NIS case could be blamed on the previous administration, it is the current administration that is trying to "cover up and downscale" the case. "As a political leader with responsibilities, we think that it is a right thing to do (for Moon) to send a message," one of his aides said.

Some people in the DP speculate that Moon was possibly trying to seek a breakthrough in his political predicament caused by the disappearance of the transcripts of the 2007 inter-Korean summit when he was serving as then President Roh Moo-hyun`s chief of staff. Some other view Moon`s latest move as an attempt to restore his status as a former presidential candidate and recover the pro-Roh camps reeling from former Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook`s guilty verdict by an appeals court deliberating a bribery case involving her. It is also said that Moon might have reflected his sense of unfairness of the presidential race in which he was the runner-up.

The opposition party appears to be generally positive about Moon`s statement. Representative Kim Young-hwan, who had urged Moon to take a responsible attitude, said, "He would have gone too far if he had negated the result of the presidential election. However, it was timely that he brought up the issue of our democracy in crisis and urged improvements of the situation."

Not a few expressed concerns that Moon`s "unfairness" remarks could be a target for the ruling Saenuri Party`s counterattack. A DP official complained that the use of "unfairness" provided the ruling party with an excuse for criticizing Moon for refusing to accept the election result. One DP lawmaker raised issue with the way Moon used the word, saying he should have made the remarks at a general lawmakers meeting or reflecting his opinion to the party`s position.

Moon stressed that he had no intention to negate the election result, saying, "I am not calling for a new presidential election." However, some observers say his position could change, depending on the result of the prosecution`s probe into the disappearance of the inter-Korean summit transcript.