Prosecutors launch investigation into controversial painting of Park
The left-wing artist Hong Sung-dam last month unveiled the painting, which gives a critical perspective on ruling Saenuri Party's front-runner Park Geun-hye and her father's 1961-79 military rule, just two weeks before the presidential election.
The painting posted on his personal blog shows the never-married 60-year-old Park giving birth to a baby who looks like her assassinated father with his signature sunglasses in a hospital maternity ward, surrounded by doctors and nurses.
The Seoul Election Commission requested last week that the Seoul District Prosecutors' Office investigate the case, claiming Hong's painting disparaged the image of the candidate, who aspires to become South Korea's first female president.
The painting has stirred controversy among ruling party officials who saw it as aimed at tarnishing their candidate's reputation ahead of the tight race.
In media interviews, Hong, 57, defended his work, saying it was a satirical comment about South Korean voters who still miss the time of Park Chung-hee's rule.
The Army general-turned-president has been a rallying point for conservatives who respect his accomplishment in rapid economic development, while he is criticized by liberals for suppression of the nation's nascent democratic movement in the 1970s. (Yonhap)