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Saenuri may demand justice minister’s ouster

The Saenuri Party said Thursday it is open to discussing the main opposition party’s proposal to push for the dismissal of Justice Minister Kwon Jae-jin over his alleged role in the government’s illegal surveillance of civilians.

“As he (Kwon) was the secretary for civic affairs when the surveillance activities were taking place, and the justice minister during the investigation, it will not be easy for him to avoid taking responsibility,” floor spokesperson Hong Il-pyo said on a local radio show.

The main opposition, the Democratic United Party, has been calling for Kwon’s resignation in connection to the illegal surveillance conducted by the now defunct ethics division of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Although the investigation concluded on Wednesday did not find links to Kwon, former PMO official Jang Jin-su said that he was bribed with money originating from the office of the presidential secretary for civic affairs in 2008.

Jang, who was indicted for destroying evidence concerning the PMO’s surveillance activities during the initial investigation in 2010, was a key witness in the recent investigation.

“If the issue is raised at the relevant committee after the parliamentary committees are established, it will be discussed naturally,” the spokesman said.

The ruling and opposition parties have been at odds over the allocation of the chair posts of parliamentary committees.

The Saenuri Party indicated that it may be open to a special council investigation.

“Although the results of the prosecutors’ probe are accepted, a special probe for addressing the public’s doubt could be considered,” Saenuri Party spokesperson Rep. Kim Young-woo said.

The DUP, however, called for a parliamentary investigation into the case.

By Choi He-suk (
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Korea Herald daum