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 Watchdog to rule on Roh's latest tirade

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PostSubject: Watchdog to rule on Roh's latest tirade   Sun 17 Jun - 16:44

The National Election Commission is to rule today on President Roh
Moo-hyun's latest press interview on repeated complaints from the Grand
National Party.
The GNP claims that last week's interview with Hankyoreh, the nation's
liberal-minded newspaper, once again borders on illegal campaigning. It
also accused Roh of failing to keep a neutral stance.
This is a second time in less than two weeks that the election watchdog
rules on the president's comments to decide whether he violated
election laws in the runup to the December presidential race.
On Thursday, the president spoke negatively of the GNP and also flatly
stated that he would support the pro-government Uri Party and the
presidential candidate it produces.
"The GNP is steeped in regionalism. If the past 10 years were in any
way really lost as the GNP claims, it is because of them," the
president said in a two-hour interview with "I therefore support the
Uri Party candidate."
He also reiterated that current election laws are "unrealistic and
outdated," based on his argument that a president cannot and should not
avoid current political affairs.
The GNP bristled over the interview and filed a third complaint. The
election commission dismissed their second complaint regarding two
other speeches Roh made, but said it would consider the third, since
the president has continued to make controversial remarks.
Two weeks earlier, the election watchdog ruled that the president
showed a political bias with his highly charged remarks against the
conservative GNP and its presidential frontrunner Lee Myung-bak. He
ridiculed Lee's plans for a cross-country canal system and said Park
Geun-hye, another GNP hopeful, would be an improper president since she
is the daughter of the late former president Park Jung-hee.
The watchdog issued a warning. Political analysts suspect the next reprimand to be more serious.

But because the issue is to be dealt with in a regular general meeting,
some believe it would be difficult to make another ruling against the
president. The election watchdog has already hinted that it views Roh
to have expressed political views and not much more.


By Kim Ji-hyun


(jemmie@heraldm.com)

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