Posted : 2009-04-30 16:48
Updated : 2009-04-30 16:48

Roh’s Participatory Group Fading Out

By Kim Sue-young
Staff Reporter

The success story of aides to former President Roh Moo-hyun is fading out and being described as ``once upon a time.''

Chung Sang-moon, who served as presidential secretary for general affairs, was arrested on charges of receiving a bribe of 400 million won ($307,000) from a Busan-based businessman.

A long-time friend of Roh, Chung is also suspected of embezzling about 1.2 billion won ($960,000) from the Cheong Wa Dae coffers.

Ahn Hee-jung, a member of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) decision-making Supreme Council, is undergoing investigation as well on charges of receiving vouchers worth 50 million won ($38,400) from the CEO. He was called Roh's ``left-hand'' man.

In addition, DP lawmaker Lee Kwang-jae, known as Roh's right-hand man, was arrested on charges of accepting illegal political funds from the businessman and former chairman of Nonghyup or the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, Chung Dae-kun.

At present, only a few of his aides, including Moon Jae-in, former presidential chief of staff, stand by his side.

However, those survivors seem hardly enough to maintain the once influential pro-Roh group as most of them are leaving the political arena.

Kang Kum-sil, who worked as justice minister, lost to Oh Se-hoon of the governing Grand National Party (GNP) in the Seoul mayoral election in 2006. She has been in seclusion since then.

Rhyu Si-min, former minister of health and welfare, unsuccessfully ran in the DP primaries for the 2007 presidential election.

He now operates a blog on the Internet to express his personal opinions and discuss pending issues with visitors, and sporadically gives lectures.

Former Unification Minister Chung Dong-young unsuccessfully ran in the presidential race and the parliamentary elections months later.

But Chung made a comeback to the National Assembly after winning Wednesday's by-elections as an independent. Before the election, he left the DP, the de facto successor of the now-defunct Uri Party founded by Roh and his followers, because the party refused to give him a ticket to run in the by-elections.

Even within the DP, room for pro-Roh legislators has been getting smaller.
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