Come cleanAn arrest warrant for Moon Kook-hyun, the leader of the Creative Korea Party, is being sought and the National Assembly is to vote on an arrest motion.
The constitution grants lawmakers immunity from arrest during a legislative session unless Assembly approval is granted. This privilege is meant to protect parliamentary democracy, and is aimed at shielding lawmakers from unjust interference.
It also safeguards the legislative body from the administration, essentially protecting the Assembly from autocracy.
However, this privilege must not be abused. It is meant to protect parliamentary democracy, not to cover up the wrongdoings of an individual lawmaker or a political party.
Moon is suspected of breaking election laws by accepting 600 million won ($564,440) from his fellow Creative Korea Representative Lee Han-jung in exchange for a proportional legislative seat. Lee has already been arrested.
Moon ignored all nine summonses sent from prosecutors before the Assembly convened last Tuesday. Now that the Assembly is in session, Moon is insisting on his immunity from arrest.
According to prosecutors, Moon personally asked Lee for financial support. However, Moon argues that Lee donated the money to the Creative Korea Party, not to Moon himself.
This is similar to how Pro-Park United Party Chairman Suh Chung-won received money from other Pro-Park United Representatives Yang Jeong-nye and Kim Noh-sik. Suh was found guilty by the Seoul Central District Court. The court said, “Suh completely ignored the idea of the election laws.”
Moon, who is a self-proclaimed champion of “clean politics,” should have already appeared before prosecutors to prove his stand as a “clean politician.”
It is now up to the Assembly to make a decision. For the last 13 years, the Assembly has not approved the arrest of any fellow representatives suspected of wrongdoings. This has nothing to do with democracy, but is the “not in my backyard” phenomenon.
The Assembly should approve the motion for Moon’s arrest. This would restore their integrity as an institution, and live up to the responsibility of having such a privilege.
For their part, prosecutors must investigate the matter fairly to quell rumors that Moon is being discredited to help former Grand National Party Representative Lee Jae-oh, who lost the April election to Moon.