Find the Truth in the MDP Leadership's Remarks

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Find the Truth in the MDP Leadership's Remarks

The Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) is trying to convince doubters that the comments some of its leaders made during a party meeting about cutting reported election expenses were, simply, gaffes. The issue, however, is too serious to take lightly.

MDP leaders said many suspicious things during the meeting. Vice Secretary General Yoon Chul-sang indicated that the ruling party, the prosecution, and the National Election Commission (NEC) have had a close cooperative relationship. Such chicanery is so identical to that of past regimes that the public is more inclined to take it for a fact than to swallow the later explanation that their words were ‘exaggerated.’

This is not something that can be settled by an apology from the MDP president or the punishment of pertinent party officials. The truth behind the MDP leadership's comments must be thoroughly investigated. Otherwise, public mistrust will grow.

When the controversy broke out, Yoon stated, "When MDP lawmakers complained that party leaders did nothing to protect them from prosecution for exceeding campaign finance laws, my response was exaggerated and I spoke inaccurately." Nevertheless, the MDP leadership's words at the general meeting sound all too realistic, from the leadership‘s intention to cut reported election expenses, to the news that the MDP maintained a communication network with the prosecution and the NEC. Immediately after the election, Yoon evidently told regional party executives to reduce the reported election expenses by half, for fear of exceeding campaign finance law ceilings.

"We obtained information through an independent channel, conferred with the lawmakers about their problems, and produced solutions," explained Yoon during the general meeting. "There are more than 10 lawmakers who avoided indictments because the party helped in this way."

Later, he rationalized that he had merely emphasized the importance of thorough accounting procedures, which made it possible for about 10 lawmakers to avoid indictments. Suspicions arise, however, when we hear that, during the general meeting, Yoon also said, "I should not say this openly, but the NEC people even came to our party headquarters and then . . . I'd better not talk about this."

The public has the right to know what really happened.

During the general meeting, MDP Floor Leader Chung Kyun-hwan said, "I have personally contacted the NEC and the prosecution and asked for their cooperation, and I will continue to do that." Was this, too, an exaggeration?

These quotes remind us that the incestuous relationship between law and power persists. Elections are the starting point for democracy. Public suspicion is liable to shake up the very foundation of the election system.

Because the prosecution is involved, a special measure will have to be introduced, such as a special National Assembly committee or an independent counsel. A special investigation is needed to stamp out an election climate that favors the powers that be and to revolutionize the election system. It is especially necessary to restore the honor of the prosecution, the NEC, and the ruling party, whose images have been sullied by these "gaffes."

by Noh Jae-hyun

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