Top prosecutor resigns after clash with ruling bloc

Mar 05, 2021, 07:53 am

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Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl speaks at a brief press conference in front of the Supreme Prosecutors Office in Seoul on March 4, 2021./ Photographed by Jung Jae-hoon

AsiaToday reporter Heo Kyung-joon

Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl resigned Thursday, four months before the end of his two-year tenure. President Moon Jae-in immediately accepted his resignation offer, ending a conflict between Yoon and the ruling bloc. However, Yoon’s departure is expected to have a great impact on the country’s politics. 

Speaking to reporters in front of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office in Seoul on Thursday, Yoon offered to resign, saying the spirit of the constitution and the legal-governance that maintain the country are falling apart. “The people of Korea will be the ones to pay the price. It is difficult for me to watch the collapse of common sense and justice that our society has formulated over the years,” he said.

“My role at the prosecution ends here,” he said. “Regardless of my position, I will continue to do my absolute best to safeguard free democracy and to protect the people.”

About an hour after Yoon’s announcement, the presidential office said Moon had accepted the resignation. The president also accepted the resignation of Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs Shin Hyun-soo, who had recently expressed his intention to step down amid allegations that Justice Minister Park Beom-kye appointed senior prosecutorial posts without consultation. Kim Jin-kook, a senior member of the Board of Audit and Inspection, was appointed his successor. 

Yoon’s resignation apparently expresses his objection to the move by the ruling Democratic Party (DP) to set up a new investigative office designed to completely overrule the powers of the prosecution. He has been strongly protesting against the establishment of a new investigative agency.

On his way to visit the Daegu Prosecutors Office on Wednesday, Yoon said creating such an agency “violates the spirits of the Constitution and is tantamount to a failure of a nation and the government to fulfill the Constitutional duty,” and that taking away investigative powers from the prosecution will only lead to a situation where corruption becomes “more rampant.”

However, as the ruling bloc continues its push to create a new state agency, Yoon seemingly made the decision thinking that keeping his position as prosecutor general would not make any difference. 

#prosecutor general #Yoon Seok-youl #DP #investigation agency #resignation 
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