NATIONAL

[Newsmaker] Democratic Party pushes to review college admissions of children of senior public officials

By Kim So-hyun
  • Published : Oct 2, 2019 - 14:12
  • Updated : Oct 2, 2019 - 14:42

The ruling Democratic Party of Korea is pushing for special legislation to look into possible irregularities into the college admissions of the children of lawmakers and senior public officials.

The minor opposition Justice Party and Bareunmirae Party and ruling Democratic Party Chairman Lee Hae-chan had earlier proposed an inquiry into how all legislators’ children obtained their university admissions, to which the main opposition Liberty Korea Party agreed.

The rival parties had differences on the timing, however, with the Democratic Party saying the inquiry should begin immediately, and the Liberty Korea Party saying it should take place after a parliamentary investigation into Justice Minister Cho Kuk and his family.

The Democratic Party’s floor leadership has already begun drafting the special bill.


Democratic Party Floor Leader Lee In-young (Yonhap)

Democratic Party Floor Leader Lee In-young said during the party’s supreme council meeting Wednesday that he agrees with the Liberty Korea Party’s idea of legislation for a complete survey.

Liberty Korea Party Floor Leader Na Kyung-won said Tuesday that her party approves of the survey and will take steps to propose a necessary bill.

On Wednesday, Democratic Party Floor Leader Lee said, “Let’s get the special legislation passed in the plenary session (of the National Assembly) by Oct. 31.”

The Democratic Party is considering an inquiry into lawmakers of the 20th National Assembly, elected in 2016, as well as former and incumbent senior government officials who served in the past five to six years.

The Democratic Party says it would be fair only if the inquiry covers officials under the previous administration over a period of time that matches the time under the Moon Jae-in administration.

The Democratic Party is also looking for a better name for the bill to avoid the appearance it is targeting families and children.

The Democratic Party is discussing how to categorize irregularities involving college admissions, but is likely to include the undeserved listing of high school students as authors of academic papers that became an issue with Justice Minister Cho’s daughter.

Cho’s daughter submitted in her college application that she had been the lead author of an academic paper on pathology and the third author of a thesis on the genes of green algae while she was still in high school. Her parents are suspected of getting their acquaintances to unduly name her as the author.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)