Almost half of S. Koreans think opposition leader Lee Jae-myung should resign: survey

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : March 13, 2023, 16:41 Updated : March 14, 2023, 08:01

[Yonhap News Photo]

SEOUL -- A survey showed that almost half of South Koreans think Lee Jae-myung, the chairman of the main progressive opposition Democratic Party of Korea, should resign. In February 2023, a state prosecutor's office sought an arrest warrant for Lee over corruption allegations that involve land development projects and suspicious donations from corporations.
In a survey of 1,064 South Koreans aged 18 or older, conducted by pollster Hangil, about 48.6 percent said Lee should resign. 37.8 percent responded that he should maintain the opposition party's representative position. 64.8 percent of respondents in their 60s answered that the opposition party leader should resign. However, about 51.4 percent of those in their 40s claimed that Lee should keep his position.

According to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office, Lee is on charges of breach of duty, conflict of interest, and others related to large-scale development projects in Daejang-dong and Wirye, which are located in Seoul's southern satellite city of Seongnam. The projects were carried out during Lee's tenure as Seongnam mayor from July 2010 to March 2018. He is suspected of letting private developers pocket profits from the Daejang-dong project, causing 489.5 billion won ($376.5 million) of financial damage to the municipal government.
Lee is also suspected of allowing his confidants to provide confidential information about the project to private partners, which helped the businesses gain 788.6 billion won of profit. The prosecution also charged Lee with leaking inside information to Hoban Construction, a mid-sized builder, and other businesses to illegally obtain 21.1 billion won of profit. Prosecutors also believe Lee attracted 13.3 billion won in corporate donations to the football club Seongnam FC from four private companies. Lee was the head of the club. 

On March 9, Lee's chief secretary during his tenure as Seongnam Mayor was found dead. Lee's former aide, surnamed Jeon, left a suicide note that he feels frustrated that he became the target of the prosecution's investigation even though he had been only working hard. Jeon is known to be in charge of coordinating corporate donations for Seongnam FC. 
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