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GNP sues DP lawmakers over defamation

The ruling Grand National Party sued Rep. Lee Seok-hyun and Park Jie-won of the main opposition Democratic Party on Friday for making a false accusation that a son of GNP chairman Ahn Sang-soo received special favors in his admission to the nation’s top school. 
GNP leader Ahn Sang-soo (right) meets Lee Hoi-chang, leader of a small opposition party, on Friday. (Yonhap News)
GNP leader Ahn Sang-soo (right) meets Lee Hoi-chang, leader of a small opposition party, on Friday. (Yonhap News)

Despite Lee’s public apology, the GNP filed a libel case against him with the Seoul Southern Prosecutors’ Office in the morning.

The GNP has also decided to refer the case to the National Assembly’s ethics committee and demand the resignation of Lee and DP floor leader Park.

The conservative party said the stern measures are to root out groundless rumors and gambits rampant in the political circle.

“This is more than a personal matter. It is about stamping out the DP’s lies and mudslinging tactics. Though we appreciate Lee’s apology, we will continue with our legal actions,” said GNP spokesman Ahn Hyoung-hwan at a press briefing.

“The DP seems to have enjoyed making wrongful revelations about anything, whenever. It is an evil practice and a serious threat to our dignity. We will do whatever we can to change it,” said GNP floor leader Kim Moo-sung.

Such indignant reactions came in response to Lee’s allegation that Ahn’s second son received preferential treatment when he applied to Seoul National University Law School last year.

“I was informed by a source that Ahn’s son was among seven backup candidates. The school gave the opportunity to only two of the candidates and Ahn grabbed the chance,” he said at the party’s general meeting Thursday.

“Other candidates have reportedly raised objections and suspicions.”

Park amplified the allegation saying, “This is a grave matter indeed. Lee came up with the claim several days ago, but we had shelved it because Ahn has done a great favor to us in other political matters.”

The SNU rejected Lee’s claim, saying the junior Ahn was second on the waiting list and that his admission was legitimate and fair.

Cho Kook, professor of the law school and one of the most respected liberals, also confronted the DP saying, “This is a serious political gambit.”

Lee offered an apology early Friday morning saying, “I regret to have made the allegations based on unconfirmed sources. I apologize to Ahn and his family as well as the SNU.”

DP Chairman Sohn Hak-kyu also said at the Supreme Council meeting Friday, “I have talked with the SNU president. I have expressed regrets to GNP officials. I hope things will smooth out in the end.”

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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