Rep. Park Geun-hye
By Kang Hyun-kyung
Rivals ratcheted up pressure on Rep. Park Geun-hye of the ruling Saenuri Party to take responsibility for the money-for-nomination scandal, claiming that she was in a position to prevent it.
Their effort to politicize the corruption scandal in the primary threw the party further into turmoil.
In a radio interview, Yim Tae-hee, a former presidential chief of staff, urged the Saenuri Party leadership as well as Rep. Park to take the case seriously.
Yim, now running in the party primary, cited the need for Saenuri to take an emergency measure by dissolving the current leadership if the money-for candidacy case is found to be true.
Yim emphasized that the nature of the scandal is not a corruption case about an individual. He was referring to Rep. Hyun Young-hee who allegedly offered money to one of the Saenuri Party’s selection committee members in return for a proportional representation seat.
“If the Saenuri Party leadership takes it as one person’s corruption case, this will be suicidal for both Rep. Hyun and the party,” he argued.
“Rep. Park Geun-hye is not in a position to claim that she has nothing to do with the case (as she oversaw the party as chairwoman when the corruption scandal occurred earlier this year). The ruling party will have to launch an interim leadership body (until it selects a new leader),” he said.
His remarks were construed as meaning that the root cause of the bribery scandal could be systematic, and the selections of candidates to run in election are vulnerable to corruption.
Kim Moon-soo, governor of Gyeonggi Province, said Rep. Park will need to take responsibility for the scandal, if the prosecution finds it is true.
Kim stepped up pressure on the former party chairwoman to take appropriate measures, noting that pieces of evidence, which can support the allegation could be true, were released.
On Wednesday, prosecutors said Rep. Hyun testified that she gave 3 to 5 million won to several lawmakers, who are close to Rep. Park, before the April 11 National Assembly elections.
The lawmaker was quoted as claiming that she “donated” the money when they raised campaign funds.
In a recent radio interview, Park Sun-young, a former lawmaker of the minor Liberty Forward Party (2008-2012), disclosed that it was business as usual that those who were on the list of proportional representation seats contributed a certain amount of money to their party in return for the seat.
Park claimed she didn’t pay a penny and therefore other lawmakers were jealous of her while she was a lawmaker.
Yim didn’t mention Park’s remarks, but his tone was similar to what the former lawmaker said.
If the allegation is found to be true, Yim said, Saenuri Party Chairman Hwang Woo-yea will need to resign to take responsibility.
Earlier, Rep. Park expressed regret over the money-for-nomination case and called on prosecutors to investigate thoroughly into the allegation. She didn’t respond to calls to step down.