2 lawmakers-elect in hot seat
The ruling Saenuri Party is considering expelling two of its lawmakers-elect for cases of ethically-flawed behavior in the past.
“We will first check on the relevance of the cases and then come up with a final decision,” said Rep. Park Geun-hye, head of the ruling party’s interim leadership committee, Friday.
Moon Dae-sung, who has been elected a legislator representing Busan’s Saha-A district, is accused of plagiarizing his doctoral thesis submitted to Kookmin University in Seoul in 2007. Moon is an Olympic gold medalist in taekwondo and member of the International Olympic Committee. He currently serves as professor at Dong-A University in Busan.
Kookmin University is now evaluating relevancy of Moon’s thesis.
Another member under fire is Kim Hyung-tae who successfully ran in South Pohang and Ulleung Island in North Gyeongsang Province.
Rumors have it that Kim attempted sexual assault on his late younger brother’s wife in 2002. Kim denied the claims. The scandal surfaced when his brother’s wife surnamed Choi accused him of sexual assault three days before the elections. The following day Kim filed a lawsuit against Choi and one of his rival candidates who played up the scandal for violating the Election Law and defaming his character.
Experts say Park’s swift and bold response against the potential scandals aims to shut out any possible public backlash that can interrupt her road to the presidency.
The daughter of the late military strongman Park Chung-hee solidified her position as the conservative’s unrivaled presidential candidate after leading her party to a 152-seat majority victory in last week’s parliamentary elections.
Meanwhile, Lee Jun-seok, a member of the party’s leadership committee, echoed Park’s statement.
“We will first have to see the results of investigations into the cases,” Lee said in a radio interview. “The two members should resign their membership, and rejoin the party after they have been proven innocent.”
The committee earlier urged Rep. Choi Gu-sik to leave the party after rumors spread that one of his secretaries masterminded a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on the National Election Commission before the Seoul mayoral by-election last October.
Lee said Park and the committee members will exchange views on the issue in a meeting today.
The opposition criticized the Saenuri Party.
“Park Geun-hye should come up with a concrete decision on the issue right away,” said Kim Hyun, vice spokesman of the main opposition Democratic United Party. “The Saenuri Party should know that making any excuses will only worsen the case.”
Cho Guk, a professor at Seoul National University’s law school, wrote on his Twitter account, “the resignation of Kim and Moon is not enough ... the National Assembly’s Ethics Committee should take disciplinary action against the two.”