Choo vows to set aside political ambitions until prosecution reform completed
SEOUL, Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae pledged Monday not to pursue personal political ambitions until she sees the completion of the state prosecution service’s institutional reform.
“I swore (to myself) that I will not have political desires and ambitions until I (successfully) reform the prosecution,” the justice minister said in a parliamentary session.
Choo was responding to Rep. Jun Joo-hyae of the main opposition People Power Party, who asked whether she intended to run for the Seoul mayoral election, set for April 2021, or the presidential election slated for March 2022.
“Since I am here at this position as justice minister with the sole mission to reform the prosecution, I do not have a political position (to run in elections) until that mission is finished,” the minister noted.
Asked if she may run for the elected offices after stepping down, Choo responded, “That’s uncertain, (but it will not happen) until the completion of the prosecution reform.”
The minister also tried to assuage criticisms that transpired after she ordered ministry officials to review the establishment of a law forcing suspects to disclose the passwords for their mobile phones.
Choo said her instructions to the ministry were limited to research and not aimed toward amending the law.
The justice minister has made headlines in recent months amid an ongoing power struggle with Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl.
The political clash between Choo and Yoon, part of a broader conflict between the ruling bloc and the prosecution, has transpired largely from last year following controversial investigations into former Justice Minister Cho Kuk, a key architect of President Moon Jae-in’s drive for prosecution reform, and his family.
Reform of the prosecution has been a key agenda of President Moon Jae-in’s administration amid long-held public views that the state prosecution has wielded excessive and manipulative power without adequate checks and balances.
Source: Yonhap News Agency