Presidential secretary resigns amid controversy

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Presidential secretary resigns amid controversy

The Blue House has accepted the resignation of Lim Jong-hoon, a presidential secretary for civil affairs who volunteered to step down on Saturday as suspicions grew that he may have had a hand in selecting candidates for the June 4 local elections.

The resignation process for Lim wrapped up yesterday after President Park Geun-hye gave her OK.

Lim, 61, has a law degree from Seoul National University. He was formerly a National Assembly employee and law professor before joining the Saenuri Party. The presidential secretary of civil affairs is considered a crucial post for the president, as its main roles include supervising and detecting corruption by civil servants.

Lim is suspected of interviewing 15 candidates for the Suwon mayoral race in Gyeonggi on Feb. 22, which could be considered an act of political intervention. The Blue House completed its investigation into the charge, and the Gyeonggi branch of the National Election Commission is currently in the middle of its probe.

The presidential office appeared to consider the controversy inappropriate, regardless of whether the accusations are found to be true or not.

President Park Geun-hye has publicly reiterated on more than one occasion the importance of “fair elections.”

The main opposition Democratic Party, meanwhile, criticized the Blue House for political intervention and possibly corrupting local elections.

“The invisible hand at the Blue House has surfaced through the incident involving Lim, as well as the voluntary resignation of former Minister of Security and Public Administration Yoo Jeong-bok to run in the Incheon mayoral race,” DP Chairman Kim Han-gill said yesterday in a supreme council meeting.

BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]


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