Ruling & Opposition Camps Struggle To Save Their Image
Both the ruling and opposition camps are sweating over a number of unfolding political scandals ahead of the December presidential election.
President Lee Myung-bak's elder brother AND former ruling Saenuri Party representative Lee Sang-deuk was grilled by prosecutors for nearly 16 hours on Tuesday over his alleged involvement in a corruption scandal.
He's suspected of taking more than 650 million won or about 570-thousand U.S. dollars in bribes from the heads of several savings banks.
Prosecutors are widely expected to seek an arrest warrant for Lee on charges of taking illegal political funds.
The main opposition Democratic United Party, meanwhile, has called on prosecutors to widen the probe to include the 2007 presidential election.
[INTERVIEW : Park Yong-jin, Spokesperson,Democratic United Party] ''The public will be angry if the investigation is only focused on acts of corruption by an individual instead of on the presidential election funding scandal as a whole.''
While the ruling party's presidential frontrunner Park Geun-hye is trying hard to portray her party as corruption-free, this recent scandal could deal a heavy blow to the party.
Park, however, has been trying to distance herself from the Lee Myung-bak administration, and under her leadership, the Saenuri Party was also quick to call on prosecutors to speed up the investigation and punish those involved.
[INTERVIEW : Kim Young-woo, Spokesperson,Saenuri Party] ''We hope that prosecutors will conduct their investigation fairly and promptly to reveal the truth underlying the scandal.''
The DUP and its partner minor opposition Unified Progressive Party are not doing too well either as the UPP struggles to resolve a vote-rigging scandal involving controversial pro-North Korea lawmakers.
The two parties, which forged an alliance ahead of the April general elections, have been expected to cooperate in the presidential election.
The DUP, however, has told the UPP to expel lawmakers embroiled in the election scandal.
The UPP's Lee Seok-gi , who is known for his pro-North Korea views, was grabbed by the collar by angry farmers during a rally on Tuesday.
Lee was there to join a protest of the free trade deal between Korea and China, but was told to leave by farmers chanting, ''Go to North Korea.''
Lee Ji-yoon, Arirang News.
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