Huge political cases to come to surface as general election ended

2024.04.12 18:31 입력 2024.04.12 18:34 수정
Kim Song-yi, Kang Han-dle

District office workers remove election banners in Jongno-gu, Seoul, on Nov. 11, a day after the 22nd National Assembly election. Hyo-Jin Jung Reporter

District office workers remove election banners in Jongno-gu, Seoul, on Nov. 11, a day after the 22nd National Assembly election. Hyo-Jin Jung Reporter

The April 10 general election ended with “extending the structure of the opposition parties being a majority in the National Assembly.” There is an expectation that major cases, such as various controversies surrounding the government and the government agencies, which have been put off by the political circles due to the election, will reignite.

■ Itaewon Tragedy Special Act

On January 30, President Yoon Suk-yeol vetoed the Itaewon Tragedy Special Act. He accepted a recommendation from the government and the ruling party that the bill "may divide the nation." The bill was sent back to the National Assembly, and the ruling and opposition parties tentatively agreed to re-vote on it after the general election. If not re-voted by the end of May, when the 21st National Assembly ends, the special bill will automatically be scrapped.

The bereaved families have condemned Yoon's veto, saying, "We no longer have a government." They criticized the government's announcement that it would set up a disaster damage support committee instead of a special law, saying it was "trying to change the frame of the disaster from truth and reconciliation to indemnification and compensation."

The 22nd National Assembly, which is dominated by opposition parties, has increased the chances of enacting the special law. "The National Assembly must properly uncover the facts and take measures to prevent the same thing from happening again so that there is no sense of injustice," said Choo Mi-ae of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) in her election acceptance speech on April 11 after winning a constituency seat in the general election.

■ President Yoon's alleged involvement in the general election

Attention is also being paid to the investigation of President Yoon's violation of the Public Official Election Act on the public debates, which was held 24 times from January 4 to March 26 this year.

Earlier, the DPK and the Green Justice Party filed a complaint against Yoon with the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, claiming that he "violated the duty of political neutrality of public officials," as he was in effect promoting the ruling party's election pledges through the public debates. Civic groups, such as the People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy and the Citizens' Coalition for Economic Justice, also filed a violation of the election law with the National Election Commission.

Kyunghyang Shinmun compared the main contents of 24 public debates with the pledges of PPP candidates running in the areas where the debates took place, and the majority of the contents were reflected in the pledges of its candidates. Early last month, the presidential office said, "It has nothing to do with the general election at all," adding, "Please see it as the president's efforts to solve long-standing problems in the regions with specific solutions.”

Upon receiving the complaint of the People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, the National Election Commission transferred the case to the police. Mapo Police Station is planning to investigate the accuser on the 29th.

■Suspicion of soliciting complaints by the KCSC chairperson

On December 23 last year, the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC) received a report containing allegations that the family and acquaintances of Ryu Hee-rim, chairperson of the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC), had filed a complaint with the commission regarding the "Newstapa’s report." The whistleblower alleged that Ryu participated in the deliberation process even though he was aware of a possible conflict of interest.

The main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and the media union also filed a complaint with the Southern District Prosecutor's Office, respectively, alleging that Ryu's suspected behavior violated the Conflict of Interest Prevention Act. The case was assigned to Yangcheon Police Station in Seoul. According to the KCSC, Ryu had not been questioned at Yangcheon Police Station through an official schedule until this day. The police station sent an "interim notice" to the DPK, saying, "We are continuing to investigate the violation of the Conflict of Interest Act against the defendant, Chairperson Ryu Hee-rim."

The ACRC is continuing its investigation by extending the investigation period, which is 60 days under the law, by 30 days. It reportedly requested data from the audit team of the KCSC. The whistleblower submitted additional evidence to the ACRC that “Ryu was aware that private stakeholders had filed a complaint."

Kim Sung-soon, an official from the Minbyun, said, "We urge the police to conduct a strict and prompt investigation to prevent social chaos caused by Ryu and the KCSC.”

※This article has undergone review by a professional translator after being translated by an AI translation tool.

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