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(LEAD) Moon to request opposition parties to recommend special prosecutor candidates

All News 13:50 June 01, 2018

(ATTN: UPGRADES attribution; UPDATES with bar association to suggest candidates Sunday)

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in plans to ask opposition parties Friday to recommend candidates for a special prosecutor charged with looking into allegations that a power blogger tied to ruling party officials manipulated Internet comments for political purposes, an official said.

Under the special counsel bill that passed through the National Assembly last week, Moon has until Friday to make the candidate recommendation request. Once the request is made, the Korean Bar Association will suggest four candidates before three opposition parties recommend two of them to Moon.

"We will ask opposition parties today to recommend special prosecutor candidates just as the special prosecutor law stipulates," presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.

Kim said he expects to receive a list of two opposition-recommended candidates by June 7 and Moon is supposed to select one of them as a special prosecutor within three days.

The bar association plans to hold a candidate recommendation committee meeting Sunday, one day earlier than previously planned, to select four candidates.

"We moved up the schedule by one day in order to give opposition parties more time for discussions," an official of the association said.

The scandal centers on suspicions that the power blogger, known by his nickname Druking, and his team manipulated comments on Internet news stories in an effort to sway public opinion on hot-button political issues.

Druking was found to have relations with officials of the ruling party and the presidential office. He has claimed that former ruling party lawmaker Kim Kyoung-soo, a key aide to Moon, tacitly agreed to his campaign for the online opinion rigging.

Kim has flatly denied the allegations, dismissing them as "fiction."

(LEAD) Moon to request opposition parties to recommend special prosecutor candidates - 1


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