SEOUL, Jan. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's minor parities on Thursday claimed Moon Jae-in, former head of the Democratic Party, is responsible for the death of ex-President Roh Moo-hyun, continuing their attack on the leading presidential candidate from the main opposition.
Rep. Joo Ho-young, the floor leader of the planned New Conservative Party for Reform, said Moon is responsible for failing to prevent the tragedy, adding the pro-Roh faction, which is the power base of the presidential hopeful, is a relic of the past.
Roh, who led the country from 2003 to 2008 and is viewed as an icon of the liberal camp, committed suicide in May 2009 after being embroiled in a corruption scandal. Moon, who served as his secretary, gained popularity after the death as he was considered to have inherited Roh's legacy.
Joo said Moon has no right to criticize the secretaries of President Park Geun-hye.
"The confusion in state affairs through the scandal surrounding Choi Soon-sil also came as those in a position to check transgressions failed to do their duties," Joo argued. Park was impeached in December on allegations her confidante Choi exerted influence on state affairs and sought personal benefits by using her close ties to the president.
"If (Moon) has the ambition to lead a country, he needs to express his position in regards to the past. Just because time has passed, he shouldn't be acting like the incident holds no significance," Joo said.
The splinter People's Party also said it will draw attention to events that led up to Roh's death.
Rep. Cho Bae-sook of the People's Party said South Koreans demand more than just a change of the president. There should be a fundamental change in the country, she added.
Local ruling and minor parties have been keeping watchful eyes on Moon, as he has been leading in the opinion polls, along with former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Besides the Democratic Party, others are struggling to find suitable candidates that can compete with Moon and Ban.
Moon Jae-in, former head of the Democratic Party, speaks at a press conference in Changwon on Jan. 4, 2017. (Yonhap)Moon Jae-in, former head of the Democratic Party, speaks at a press conference in Changwon on Jan. 4, 2017. (Yonhap)