Assembly to investigate NIS election interference

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Assembly to investigate NIS election interference

The ruling and opposition parties yesterday agreed to begin an independent investigation conducted by the National Assembly to look into the main spy agency’s alleged interference in last year’s presidential election.

Chief negotiators of the Saenuri and Democratic parties met yesterday afternoon to discuss a plan to carry out the probe.

Representative Choi Kyung-hwan, floor leader of the Saenuri Party, and Representative Jun Byung-hun, the Democrats’ floor leader, agreed yesterday to submit a request for the probe to the National Assembly today and inform the lawmakers about it at tomorrow’s plenary session.

The voting on the request will take place on July 2.

After the Democratic Party accused the National Intelligence Service for having operated an online smear campaign against its candidate Moon Jae-in, the two sides agreed in March to conduct a National Assembly probe.

While the prosecution investigated the case and indicted former NIS director Won Sei-hoon for violating the election law earlier this month, no progress was seen in the legislature to begin the investigation until yesterday.

The two parties also agreed to work together to pass other bills linked to job creation and economic democratization during the June session.

Representative Lee Un-ju, DP spokeswoman, said yesterday that the two parties will continue discussions to form a special committee to carry out the probe.

Citing the time-honored tradition inside the legislature, she said the opposition party should head the committee, since the ruling party chaired the special committee for the last National Assembly probe into the public healthcare system.

The DP has increased its pressure on the Saenuri Party and President Park Geun-hye to accept the National Assembly probe.

Earlier yesterday morning, the Democrats gave the ruling party an ultimatum to agree with the probe within 48 hours or else they will boycott the legislative activities. On Monday, DP Chairman Kim Han-gill also sent a letter to Park to make a decision before she leaves for China tomorrow.

President Park also said Monday that it is necessary to lay bare the truth about the issues involving the NIS and asked the legislature to make a decision on how they will handle the matter.

BY SER MYO-JA [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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