.contact us |.about us
News > International News ... ...
S.Korea's Roh returns home to face referendum fight
( 2003-10-24 23:33) (Reuters)

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun returned on Friday from an Asian-Pacific summit with strong support for dealing with North Korea, but he faces a weekend of political wrangling over a proposed confidence-vote referendum.

Roh's struggle to win over his opponents to his plan to test his mandate in December may overshadow successes in Bangkok, where US President George W. Bush moved to inject momentum into stalled diplomacy by offering North Korea security guarantees if the state scraps its nuclear arms programmes.

Back in Seoul, however, the embattled Roh will hold weekend talks with the heads of four main political parties -- only one of which backs the 57-year-old liberal president. He gave no clue on his evolving referendum plan in a televised arrival speech.

Roh stunned his country of 48 million people last week by calling for what amounts to a vote of confidence in himself just eight months into a five-year presidency. He said he was ready to step down if he lost.

During a visit to Singapore, Roh told reporters on Thursday that he might have to change the date of his planned December 15 referendum. In Seoul, a high-ranking official said the plan would have to be scrapped if the parties did not accept the referendum.

Roh's referendum move was triggered by the involvement of a close aide in a political funding scandal that has spread to South Korea's largest opposition party, embarrassing that conservative group and taking some of the heat off Roh.

Choi Do-sul, a Roh confidant of 20 years, was arrested last week on suspicion of bribery and political funding law violations for taking 1.1 billion won ($935,000) from the scandal-tainted SK Group conglomerate. Roh has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The main opposition Grand National Party (GNP) had to apologise on Tuesday after prosecutors said one of its MPs had admitted to taking 10 billion won ($8.41 million) in SK money last year.

On Friday, GNP leader Choe Byung-yul -- one of Roh's staunchest critics, who called for the president's impeachment if he is linked to the SK cash -- bitterly rejected prosecution calls to open party bank accounts to pursue the funding scandal.

Roh holds critical referendum talks on Sunday with Choe of the GNP and with the head of the Millennium Democratic Party. Both those opposition parties oppose the referendum and have enough seats in parliament to block the president's initiatives.

  Today's Top News   Top International News
+China, Australia boost ties with trade deal
( 2003-10-24)
+Law puts onus on drivers to be alert
( 2003-10-24)
+China capable of launching 10-ton space station module
( 2003-10-24)
+Top legislator to visit DPRK next week
( 2003-10-24)
+External influence complicates court ruling
( 2003-10-24)
+S.Korea's Roh returns home to face referendum fight
( 2003-10-24)
+US isolated on Iran nuke programme-diplomats
( 2003-10-24)
+U.S., Japan, S.Korea to meet on N.Korea security
( 2003-10-24)
+Donors ready pledges to help Iraq rebuild
( 2003-10-24)
+Indian forces battle gunmen in Kashmir siege
( 2003-10-24)
  Go to Another Section  
  Article Tools  
        .contact us |.about us
  Copyright By chinadaily.com.cn. All rights reserved