South Korean president-elect invites ex-leader Park to his inauguration

Seoul, Apr 12 (EFE).- South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol on Tuesday met former President Park Geun-hye, dismissed and imprisoned for corruption over an investigation he himself led, to invite her to his inauguration and tell her he regrets that precedent.

“We have talked about her health. And we have a past (in common). I told her that I was sorry and that I feel sorry for her from the bottom of my heart,” Yoon said at the end of the meeting at Park’s residence in Daegu (230 kilometers southeast of Seoul) in statements collected by the Yonhap agency.

The former president, pardoned in December after her impeachment and imprisonment in 2017 for the “Rasputina” case, told Yoon she would try to attend the May 10 inauguration in Seoul.

Yoon led one of the investigation teams at the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office that succeeded in having her removed from office and put her on trial.

During the election campaign, Yoon, who ran for the March presidential election as a candidate for Park’s party, said he fulfilled his duty as a prosecutor and that this did not prevent him from feeling sorry for the now former president.

Representatives from Yoon’s office said the meeting between the two was cordial and that Yoon told Park she regrets that good policies of her government have not been recognized and that she would try to promote those successes during her term.

Yoon also told Park she was analyzing the way her father, dictator Park Chung-hee, managed his cabinet and the presidential office.

Following a military coup in 1961, Park Chung-hee was elected president in 1963 and re-elected in 1971.

Under his rule, South Korea experienced unprecedented economic growth, the so-called “Miracle of the Han River,” which boosted his popularity. In the early 1970s, his popularity declined and he declared martial law to approve a new authoritarian constitution, in force until shortly after his 1979 assassination.

Yoon concluded a tour in Daegu to thank the support of the electorate in the province of North Gyeongsang, considered a conservatives stronghold (Park Chung-hee and her daughter were born here) where practically 75 percent of votes went to Yoon, who won by just 247,000 votes. EFE


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