Park Geun-hye apologizes for money-for-nomination scandal
The leading presidential candidate of the ruling Saenuri Party, Park Geun-hye, apologized on Sunday for a recent money-for-nomination scandal amid concerns it could taint the party's image and turn into a huge political liability before the December presidential election.
The party has been engulfed in a potentially explosive scandal where one of its members became a lawmaker on a proportional representation ticket after allegedly giving bribes to an official of the party's nomination committee ahead of April's general elections.
While those involved have flatly denied the allegations, a prosecution investigation has been launched.
"Efforts are underway to determine what is true and what is not, and the truth has yet to come out. But I feel sad about the fact that such suspicion has been raised in the first place," Park said during a meeting to explain policy with a group of young people in Seoul.
"I feel sorry before the whole people of our nation," she added.
The remarks were in response to a question from the attendees asking if she can clear up the suspicions surrounding the alleged money-for-nomination scandal "without a shred of shame" before her supporters and the whole Korean people.
The allegations, if confirmed, could deal a blow to the ruling party and its leading presidential hopeful, Park, who had called for reform in the party's nomination process for the parliamentary elections earlier this year.
She is a frontrunner in opinion polls for the December presidential election. The ruling party is scheduled to select its presidential nominee at a national convention on Aug. 20.
The corruption scandal is providing fodder to her political rivals within the party, which have been quick to demand a public apology from Park for the scandal that could taint the party's image.
The main opposition Democratic United Party is also attacking the ruling party and the presidential hopeful over the bribery scandal, calling on her to withdrawal her presidential bid if the scandal allegations are proven to be true. (Yonhap)