Roh’s death to be commemorated next month

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Roh’s death to be commemorated next month

Commemorations of the first anniversary of former President Roh Moo-hyun’s suicide will take place nationwide next month, Roh’s confidant Moon Jae-in said yesterday, which could boost the opposition’s performance in the June local elections.

Moon, who served as Roh’s Blue House chief of staff, held a press conference yesterday at the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation and announced a monthlong program of exhibitions, music recitals, academic symposiums and a ceremony to mark the completion of Roh’s grave site.

“The highlight will be the memorial service on May 23,” Moon said. “It will take place at 2 p.m. near Roh’s grave under the owl rocks [where Roh jumped to his death] at Bongha Village.”

Popular sympathy for Roh is seen as an important factor in uniting liberal voters in the June 2 local elections. The opposition Democrats and Roh loyalists have blamed the Lee Myung-bak administration for Roh’s death.

After his presidential term ended in February 2008, Roh’s family and close aides faced investigation on bribery charges. The former president killed himself on May 23 of last year, shortly after being summoned by the prosecution for questioning.

Aside from the grave completion ceremony on May 23, the opening of an exhibition hall is planned in Bongha in South Gyeongsang, where Roh retired after his term. Because many participants are expected to attend the grave site service, the foundation will ask police and local governments to help maintain order.

“We will also send out invitations after this press conference,” Moon said yesterday when asked if any of the current administration’s officials were confirmed to attend the memorial. “When we do that, we will think about the possibility. If necessary, we will consult with the government.”

By next week, Roh’s autobiography, completed with help of former Labor Minister Rhyu Si-min, will be published, Moon said.

Moon said the foundation has been careful to plan events that are nonpolitical since they will take place during the campaign period. “We warn against attempts to interpret the events politically,” Moon said.

By Ser Myo-ja []
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