Prosecutorial excess

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Prosecutorial excess

Now prosecutors have decided to investigate the presidential candidates of the Grand National Party. It began with charges made by competing candidates, but became a more serious issue when Unit One of the special cases department of the Seoul Central District Prosecu-tors’ Office became involved. Cases regarding both Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye are supposed to go to Unit One, and the outcome could affect the results of not only the party primary but also the presidential election. Although the investigation aims at revealing the truth behind the suspicions, it is not right for prosecutors to have the power to shape elections.
Surely prosecutors did not start this. The candidates of the GNP first asked prosecutors to investigate their cases. The GNP candidates should know better than anyone else that the prosecutors have worked hand in hand with the ruling party in every election and intervened accordingly. So it is incomprehensible why they themselves have caused the prosecutors’ intervention. Perhaps the party members believe the prosecutors more than they do their presidential candidates or party leaders. This is truly what the GNP candidates are reaping. Yet it still does not entitle the prosecutors to intervene in the elections. The emotional tenor of the battle for the GNP banner has reached the point where the candidates want to prosecute each other, but the prosecutors must take care not to be misunderstood. Much like an onion, the truth of a case has many layers, and even though the prosecutors intend to reveal only the truth, the layers they choose to expose could give the advantage to one candidate over another.
Whatever their excuses, the prosecutors cannot be completely free of political influence. If the results of the party primary and the presidential election are altered due to the actions of the prosecutors, that would be a serious blow to our democracy. Moreover, the prosecutors stepped over the line when they said they would provide a standard for the people’s choice by revealing the truth about the candidates before the elections. Where else in the world do prosecutors provide a standard for the people’s choice of presidential candidate? Do they seriously believe they are the ones who are fair and just enough to provide such a standard? Government institutions already have too great a hand in political parties. If government institutions now interfere and even help determine the outcome of an election, they are likely to distort the choice of the people. This would be a poison chalice for democracy.
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