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Rival parties agree to go ahead with probe into spy agency scandal

The ruling and main opposition parties agreed Thursday to go ahead with their plan to conduct a parliamentary investigation into allegations that the national spy agency meddled in last year's presidential election.
   
The ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) announced the agreement following a meeting between their respective floor leaders, Rep. Choi Kyoung-hwan and Rep. Jun Byung-hun, saying they will try to pass a proposal for the investigation during this month's extra parliamentary session that ends on July 2.

The agreement comes after a dispute between the parties over a separate prosecution investigation into the case.   

The scandal centers on allegations that agents of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) posted comments online in favor of then ruling party contender and now President Park Geun-hye ahead of last December's election.
   
If proven, the scandal could hurt the Park administration's legitimacy to some extent, although even the DP made clear it is not challenging the election results.
   
Last Friday, prosecutors indicted then NIS chief, Won Sei-hoon, and then Seoul metropolitan police chief, Kim Yong-pan, on charges of interfering in the election, which is in violation of country's election law.

The DP has since stepped up calls for a parliamentary probe, citing an agreement in March between the parties' then floor leaders to conduct the probe as soon as the prosecution completed its investigation.
   
The ruling party, however, insisted that the investigation was not over as the prosecution had yet to look into allegations that the DP mistreated an NIS employee accused of posting the online comments, violating her human rights.
   
The ruling party also called on the prosecution to investigate allegations that the DP promised to give a then NIS official a promotion in return for leaking confidential information from the spy agency, if it won the presidential election. (Yonhap News)

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