Opposition parties call justice minister’s offer to resign natural outcome amid probe

SEOUL-- Opposition parties said Monday that Justice Minister Cho Kuk's offer to step down is a belated but inevitable decision, given the prosecution's widening probe into allegations of corruption surrounding his family.

Earlier in the day, Cho made the surprise announcement that he has decided to resign, about one month after he was appointed as the minister amid political turmoil over the probe into his family.

The announcement came a few hours after the minister said the government will put proposals to reform the prosecution on the agenda at an upcoming Cabinet meeting.

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) said Cho's offer was meant to be, given the deepening public divide over his appointment.

"President Moon Jae-in should apologize for letting the controversy split public opinion and for disregarding people," LKP floor leader Na Kyung-won said.

The minor opposition Bareunmirae Party emphasized the need to push for the prosecution reform as planned and for a thorough investigation into the allegations.

"We need to think about how to uphold fairness and justice at the legislative and institutional levels to prevent the privileged from enjoying vested interests and violating rules," party chief Sohn Hak-kyu said.

The minor liberal Party for Democracy and Peace expressed hope that Cho's decision could serve as a starting point for full-fledged reform.

"Now is the time to launch wide-ranging reform. We need to seamlessly handle bills for election and judiciary reforms that have been placed on the fast-track," it added.

The ruling Democratic Party (DP) has yet to release its official statement over Cho's decision. The party is holding a meeting on how to handle the situation.

Cho, a key architect for Moon's drive to overhaul the prosecution, was appointed as the justice minister on Sept. 9, despite the elite investigative agency's probe.

The controversy surrounding Cho has effectively divided Koreans into two groups -- those who support him and those who don't -- and prompted them to hold respective rallies in public places to voice their opinions.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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