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What two former prime ministers have in common

Posted April. 28, 2015 07:17,   


If Han Myeong-sook and Lee Wan-koo, two former prime ministers, are compared to each other, they could be angry. As Han was Korea’s first prime minister and Lee was mentioned as a potential presidential candidate from Chungcheong Province, they must be proud of themselves. The amount of illegal funds that Han received was around 900 million won (838,200 US dollars), which was much larger than what Lee received (30 million won or 27,940 dollars). However, the Supreme Court has not made a final ruling on 900 million won (838,200 dollars) and the prosecution has not indicted Lee for taking 30 million won (27,940 dollars) yet.

Not many politicians become a prime minister. The two former politicians became prime ministers and were also involved in a scandal over illegal political funds, which is a rare case. Han was cleared of bribery charges in the Supreme Court’s ruling. I don’t want to believe that a person who has a track record in democratic movements like Han took bribes. However, political funds are different. As they were neither scholars nor public servants but politicians who ran for elections to become a lawmaker and a governor, they could hardly be free from temptation of taking illegal political funds.

Kim Moo-sung, the leader of the ruling Saenuri Party, said, referring to Han who was ruled guilty for taking illegal political funds in the second ruling, on Sunday, “Does the (main opposition) New Politics Alliance for Democracy have a right to criticize the Saenuri Party for corruption?” The political fight which started with the exposure by Sung Wan-jong, chairman of Keangnam Enterprises who killed himself, called an irrelevant person – Han. However, the opposition party reaps what it sowed eventually. It can oppose Park Sang-ok, a Supreme Court justice nominee. However, as it is blocking voting for confirmation, this makes people suspect that it is trying to save Han.

Han was convicted by the appellate court in Sept. 2013. A year and seven months have passed since then. About four years and nine months from the time when she was prosecuted. Three years have passed out of Han’s term as a lawmaker in the 19th National Assembly. The Supreme Court’s ruling may come out when her term is over next year. Delayed justice is not justice. The New Politics Alliance for Democracy should cooperate on voting for confirmation on Park and the Supreme Court should make a prompt decision when the empty seat is filled without caring for what politicians say.