The parliament is heading off-course with the feud over the 2012 presidential election flaring up over former Seoul police chief Kim Yong-pan’s acquittal.
On Thursday, Kim was acquitted of all charges brought against him for allegedly interfering with the police investigation on the spy agency’s role in the election. The National Intelligence Service is suspected of having conducted an online campaign to hinder opposition presidential candidate’s campaign under orders of former chief Won Sei-hoon. Won, who is currently on trial for election law violation, has been convicted on an unrelated corruption charge.
“The people have passed a guilty verdict, and it is becoming clear that the public’s command is for a special counsel investigation to be conducted,” Demoratic Party floor spokesman Rep. Park Soo-hyun said, citing recent survey results.
In a survey conducted by Research View, a local political consulting firm, 55.3 percent of the respondents said that Kim was guilty while 53.8 percent was in support of an independent probe on the issue.
He added that the ruling Saenuri Party was “crushing the voice of the people,” and that it was abandoning “even the minimal responsibilities of the ruling party.”
“(The DP) once again strongly demands that (the ruling party) should respond regarding the scope and timing of the special counsel investigation in accordance with the ruling-opposition agreement.”
The agreement formed ahead of last year’s regular parliamentary session states that the ruling and opposition will discuss issues regarding the independent probe.
For its part, the ruling party is hitting back saying that the DP should stop its exaggerations and apologize to the public.
On Friday, Saenuri Party floor leader Rep. Choin Kyung-hwan urged the DP to refrain from political attacks, saying that the public will not allow the opposition’s “political wrangling of exaggeration” to go on.
The DP is also increasing the pressure on the ruling party and the government, filing for the dismissal of Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and Education Minister Seo Nam-soo.
The main opposition accuses Hwang of interfering in the investigations into the NIS and its former chief. The DP also claims that Hwang played a part in removing former Prosecutor General Chae Dong-wook, who resigned amid allegations of having a son with a mistress.
As for the motion on Seo, the DP seeks to remove him from office over the controversial history textbook.
The motions, however, are likely to only to tighten the gridlock with the ruling Saenuri Party set firmly against them.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)