Former President Park Geun-hye, who had been sentenced to 22 years in prison for the National Nongdan case, was released on the 31st at 00:00 on a special New Year’s pardon. It has been 4 years and 9 months of imprisonment.
The amnesty process took place at Samsung Seoul Hospital, where former President Park was hospitalized. The amnesty process ended when an employee of the Seoul Detention Center issued a pardon to former President Park and withdrew the correctional authorities who were in the hospital room.
Former President Park received a pardon, but did not appear outside the hospital and is expected to continue treatment for the time being.
While in prison, he continued to undergo surgery and hospitalization for shoulder and back problems.
Although he was released, former President Park was impeached during his tenure, so he did not receive treatment under the ‘Ex-Presidential Courtesy Act’. However, minimal security support is provided.
Mixed reactions to the slope
Supporters of former President Park, who had gathered in front of the hospital from 10 pm the day before the amnesty and shouted the countdown, set off firecrackers and cheered.
A banner congratulating former President Park’s pardon was also hung near the hospital. Banners with phrases such as “I wish President Park Geun-hye good health” and “President Park Geun-hye, congratulations on being free” were hung.
In front of former President Park’s supporters, Republican Party leader Cho Won-jin said, “The struggle to nullify the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye will continue.”
On the other hand, a progressive group such as the National People’s Action held a candlelight vigil condemning the amnesty in front of the Finance Building in Jung-gu, Seoul at 7 pm on the same day with about 300 people gathering. They strongly criticized former President Park’s amnesty measures, saying, “This pardon is an act of betraying the candlelight spirit.”
Previously, members of civil society associations such as the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (KCTU), Korea Progressive Solidarity and 4.16 Family Council held a press conference against the amnesty of Park Geun-hye in front of the Blue House fountain on the 27th.
What is the position of former President Park?
Former President Park did not send any special messages either before or after his release.
Lawyer Yoo Young-ha, a legal representative, said in a text message sent to reporters about 8 hours before 00:00 on the 31st, “There is no announcement of a position today, as the announcement was made right after the amnesty decision was made.”
After announcing the amnesty on the 24th, former President Park said, “I express my deepest gratitude to President Moon Jae-in and the government authorities for deciding to amnesty despite many difficulties.” I will do my best to give it to you.”
However, in his autobiography ‘Nostalgia Happens to Anyone’, released in time for his release, he appealed for the injustice of the impeachment and stated that the truth would be revealed no matter how long it took.
In the book, former President Park said, “I’ve never done anything ugly to take care of my interests for anyone,” and “I believe that the truth will be revealed no matter how long it takes, and that tangled threads will be unraveled one by one.”
He added, “I don’t know when it will be, but the day will come when I will see you again.”
Will Park Geun-hye’s pardon change a presidential election?
With just two months before the presidential election, politicians are paying attention to the impact this amnesty will have on the presidential election.
In the case of passports, the first variable is the backlash of ‘candlelight public sentiment’. For this reason, he is emphasizing that the amnesty is a decision made by President Moon Jae-in and the Blue House.
Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung said on the 26th, “I’ve never heard of a discussion about amnesty before.” “It’s a very sensitive matter, and I was holding an opposing position. I want to,” he said in an interview with KBS’s ‘Sunday Diagnosis Live’.
There are also expectations that approval ratings may rise in Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do. Although it is an absolute thirteen district for the Democratic Party, it is said that a favorable opinion can be formed through amnesty.
The opposition party’s calculations have become more complicated as Yoon Seok-yeol, a presidential candidate for the People’s Strength, led the investigation into the state affairs nongdan case during his time as a prosecutor. The opposition is concerned about the division of the ‘strong conservative’.
Candidate Yoon visited Daegu on the 30th and said to former President Park Geun-hye, “I want to visit you.”
However, pro-Park officials such as Cho Won-jin, president of the Republican Party of Korea, are pouring out sharp criticisms of Candidate Yoon, such as “Confess your wrongdoings before you come to see me and make a mortal sin.”
Political critic Lee Jong-hoon saw this special amnesty as a card that could cause cracks in the presidential election.
He said, “In the case of Candidate Yoon, a special pardon card was issued in a situation where a conflict with the party leader Lee Jun-seok was provoked. (Daegu, Gyeongbuk) It can also affect the public sentiment,” he said.
He also commented, “In the case of Candidate Lee, he must be thinking of winning by attracting the middle class or by attracting the opponent’s departure vote from the current tight frame, but I think this amnesty has created an environment where he can see reflex benefits.” did.
However, this critic saw that the possibility of former President Park giving out a political message regarding the upcoming election is low.
He said, “After the amnesty was decided, the first message from former President Park’s side was ‘thank you to President Moon Jae-in’,” he said.