Two candidates competing to become the presidential nominee of the minor conservative Bareun Party expressed different views Monday on the possible arrest of former President Park Geun-hye.
Park is scheduled to appear before prosecutors Tuesday after being dismissed over a corruption scandal earlier this month.
Rep. Yoo Seong-min and Gyeonggi Province Gov. Nam Kyung-pil clashed in their second TV debate on public broadcaster KBS over whether her arrest is necessary.
"It's a truly regrettable and painful incident," Yoo said. "I had hoped that former President Park would concede to the Constitutional Court's decision (to dismiss her), and she missed her opportunity to explain herself during the earlier prosecution investigation, the independent counsel probe or before the Constitutional Court."
The lawmaker stressed the prosecution's investigation and ensuing trial must be conducted strictly under the law. But he also added it is his personal opinion that the probe should be carried out without detention considering the dignity of a former leader and the nation.
Nam said a former president is no exception to the rule of law.
"What we must establish is the rule of law," he said. "We must demonstrate that everyone is equal before the law."
South Korea is set to hold an early presidential election on May 9 to pick Park's successor.
The Bareun Party, which split from the then ruling party in the wake of the corruption scandal, is currently the fourth-largest party in the unicameral parliament.
Yoo and Nam garnered 3.8 percent and 1.6 percent respectively in the latest presidential poll conducted by Realmeter. (Yonhap)