Yoon and PPP keep making bad calls over prosecutor reform

Yoon and PPP keep making bad calls over prosecutor reform

As Minjoo pushes ahead with the compromised bill of the prosecutor reform, President-elect Yoon Seok-yeol alluded to calling for a referendum on the bill.

A series of bad calls for the following reasons:

  • Yoon shouldn’t have let the PPP strike a compromise in the first place (if he thinks the bill is wrong)
  • Or, he should have respected the compromise
  • Calling for a referendum would prove his lack of political prowess 

What’s the compromise bill?

Minjoo’s original bill was aimed to take away all the prosecutors’ authority to investigate the big six crimes. In contrast, the compromise bill leaves the authority over two: corruption and financial crime.

What’s important here is that election and public officials’ crimes are still off. The compromise bill also states that the bill will come into effect four months after the President signs it, which could be as soon as September (Pres Moon will have his last cabinet meeting on May 3).

  • Election crime: Ulsan mayor election meddling case is potentially most dangerous to Moon
    • The prosecutors may have to transfer the case to the police as soon as September
  • Public officials’ crime: during the Moon administration, a suspicion of ‘abuse of authority’ was widely used in the investigations related to the previous Park administration
    • It was also Yoon the chief prosecutor’s primary weapon

Experts have pointed out several serious loopholes, especially in strictly limiting the scope of the prosecutors’ investigation to the original crime only.

  • For example, in a child abuse case, the prosecutor couldn’t investigate further into sexual violence case even if the evidence is found (according to the lawyer Kim Yewon)

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Why did PPP flip-flop?

From PPP’s side, its floor leader Kwon Seong-dong led the compromise. In his Facebook posts, Kwon stressed that Minjoo could just pass the original bill that was too poisonous.

However, the public perceived the compromise in a whole different way. Some criticized that the PPP agreed to suppress the prosecutors, which would eventually benefit them.

The PPP leaders then began to draw a line between them and Kwon. Lee Jun-seok, never less than cunning, voiced his opposition in public, and even Yoon expressed concerns (though through his spox rather than himself).

Either position has its respectable cause. The bigger problem is that the party failed to maintain the line on this significant issue. Or does the PPP have one?

Is the referendum feasible? 

The ROK Consitution stipulates that President can hold a referendum on a critical policy about national safety.

Many doubt that the prosecutor reform is a critical national safety issue. 

Above all, Yoon is not the President yet. What does make him believe that Moon would accept his suggestion?