Not so clean after all
Moon Kook-hyun’s experiment with clean politics has come to an end. On Friday the head of the Creative Korea Party was found guilty of violating election law. If his sentence is confirmed, he will be stripped of his lawmaker title.
Moon stoked the expectations of the people when he ran for the presidency in August last year with the motto “clean politics.” His experiences and achievements earned him trust. When serving as CEO of Yuhan-Kimberly, he demonstrated a high level of ethics as well as remarkable competence as a manager. He emphasized companies’ social responsibility and ran his firm in an environmentally friendly fashion.
However, as politician he showed limits. As time went by, the problems worsened instead of being resolved. As soon as the presidential election ended late last year, his party started to split. As conflicts aroused inside the party, core figures broke away. After the legislative elections, the party faced allegations of illegal fund raising.
Moon was then indicted for violating election law. Creative Korea Representative Lee Han-jung was convicted of paying 600 million won ($448,598) to secure a proportional legislative seat. But Moon repeatedly maintained that the accusations were attempts to oppress the opposition. He didn’t respond to nine prosecutors’ office summonses. A bill to allow him to be arrested was submitted to the National Assembly, but Moon worked with other opposition parties to block the vote over the bill.
Judging from what he has done, Moon seems to lack political leadership. Even though he cried out for clean politics, what he has done was not very clean. He is said to have looked on during conflicts in his party, instead of trying to resolve them.
Of course, the harsh reality of politics was one of the reasons for his downfall. Moon devised party bonds for the legislative elections in order to receive money from party members. The move was likely due to the reality that running an election campaign is extremely expensive.
The CKP released a statement and protested that it couldn’t accept the court’s ruling, accusing it of not having the will to reveal where the criminal liability stems from.
Moon should admit his wrongdoing. He and his party violated election law, refused to follow judiciary proceedings and are now even ignoring the court’s ruling. His experiment should end here, with unfulfilled ideals and frustration. We should have no more of these ugly scenes.