The South Korean National Assembly will launch its annual three-week audit of the government and state agencies on Friday, the last such parliamentary inspection under President Moon Jae-in’s administration.
A total of 745 government ministries and agencies will be subject to this year’s parliamentary investigation to be simultaneously conducted by the assembly’s 17 standing committees, Yonhap News Agency quoted legislative officials as saying.
The three-week event is predicted to be a scene of intense bipartisan disputes over a couple of scandals allegedly involving the leading presidential candidates of the ruling party and the main opposition party.
The ruling Democratic Party (DP) and the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) are gearing up for a showdown in the three-week event that could shape public opinion for the March 9, 2022, presidential election.
At issue is growing corruption allegations Gyeonggi Governor Lee Jae-myung, currently the dominant leader in the DP’s primary for the 2022 election, gave business favours to certain companies to help them join a highly lucrative land development project in the Seongnam city’s Daejang district in 2015 when he was the city’s mayor.
Former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl, the PPP’s presidential primary front-runner, is separately under allegations he, while serving as the chief prosecutor, tried to meddle in politics by having one of his close subordinates prod the PPP to file criminal complaints against critical ruling bloc figures and journalists.
Another point of attention is the attendance of celebrities and big-name business leaders, including Kim Beom-su, founder of internet giant Kakao Corp., for an inquiry into alleged abuse of power by online platform operators.
Regional heads of global tech giants, such as Google, Apple and Facebook, were also scheduled to appear to answer lawmakers’ inquiries.
Other issues, such as the country’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and the DP’s push for a controversial media bill, are also expected to come up in the session.