The Korea Herald


Opposition camp rejects nominees Kwon and Han


Published : Aug. 9, 2011 - 19:32

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The parliamentary judicial committee refused to endorse the justice minister and prosecutor-general nominees on Tuesday after opposition parties boycotted the hearings.

“The hearings on the two nominees are not yet over,” said Rep. Park Young-sun of the main opposition Democratic Party.

“We shall not accept the ruling party’s plot to cut out all contacts from the opposition camp.”

DP members of the committee also issued a statement vetoing the adoption of the hearing reports and demanding the nominees step down.

The ruling Grand National Party, however, claimed that the nominees had not been found to have done anything that would prevent them from taking their posts.

“The DP decided to boycott the hearings results and we are thus to cancel the judicial committee meeting,” said Rep. Joo Sung-young of the GNP. “We will not push ahead with the acknowledgement without the opposition camp’s consent.”

The committee held hearings on justice minister nominee Kwon Jae-jin and prosecutor-general nominee Han Sang-dae last Thursday and on Monday, respectively.

The two hearings, however, ended with the opposition accused of failing to explain what most of the accusations it alluded to were.

Kwon, whose hearing took place on Monday, faced allegations that his two sons were given favors in the course of taking alternative military service.

Opposition lawmakers pointed out that it would have been close to impossible for the elder son to commute daily to the state-designated company in Gyeonggi Province, a site of alternative military service, and thus to do his job properly.

They also claimed that the two men were physically fit and should not have been given alternative military service in the first place.

The ruling party, however, argued that no illegalities were found in the processes.

Kwon also denied the given charges. Little evidence was presented to back the claims.

Kwon also denied being involved with Lee In-gyu, a former head of the prime ministerial ethics office, who led an illicit surveillance operation on civilians. He was, however, found to have met him several times during his years as presidential civil affairs secretary.

Han, who had his hearing last Thursday, also failed to clear most of the charges of misconduct laid against him.

Though he apologized for registering a false address in order to allow his daughters to attend a specific school, Han denied most of the suggested claims, including the allegation that he evaded his military service through spine surgery.

Also, both candidates failed to submit most of the requested documents, citing reasons of privacy protection, according to Rep. Park.

Under the current law, the president may officially appoint the nominees, should the National Assembly refuse to acknowledge within 20 days.

For this reason, the ruling party and nominees have often been criticized in the past for evading complex issues during the hearing and holding out until the presidential appointment.

A recent example was Suh Kyu-yong, who was appointed agriculture minister in May, despite his involvement in the rice subsidy irregularities.

By Bae Hyun-jung (