Mok Hae-jung, wife of three-term lawmaker Rep. Min Byung-doo of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, wrote on her Facebook late Saturday that while she admits Min is at fault, she stands by him. Min had said he would give up his parliamentary seat, just a few hours after a woman claimed he had forcefully kissed her in a karaoke room after a dinner meeting in 2010.
|Rep. Min Byung-doo of ruling Democratic Party of Korea (Yonhap)|
“I remember him talking about a meeting with a woman in her 50s to discuss starting a media business. But he must have gone to the karaoke in a very drunk state,” Mok said. “I do admit he should have been more careful as a public figure,“ she said, noting that he was not a legislator at the time of the alleged incident.
Describing her husband as a person with integrity and shyness, Mok said she can forgive his behavior as a one-time mistake and also sought understanding from others who know the couple‘s personalities and attitudes toward life.
“Many people worry about the wives when incidents like this occur. But frankly, I feel as if I could fly. It was so hard living as a politician’s wife. I am happy that I will be able to live as a free woman,” she added.
Describing herself as a feminist, Mok also stressed that any kind of sexual misconduct should be prohibited and that her husband’s decision to resign from the post is the right thing to do.
Min‘s son, Sung-won, also left an online comment supporting his father, saying Rep. Min is “obsessive about morality.”
Meanwhile, the ruling Democratic party requested Min to reconsider his decision to resign. If Min quits, the party will be left with 120 seats at the National Assembly, barely keeping its No. 1 party status against the main opposition Liberty Korea Party which holds 116 seats.
Min, who, was seeking to run for Seoul mayor in the June local elections, has not yet submitted his official resignation. Resignation of a lawmaker requires parliamentary approval.
He had released an apology earlier Saturday, but said he does not remember doing anything inappropriate.
“Whatever happened, I apologize for causing pain to the person. I will make efforts to protect her from receiving secondary damage,” he said. “But I have always been strict with myself and always thought I would step down from my position for any small fault.”
Several other politicians from the ruling party have been accused of sexual misconduct, including the former South Chungcheong Gov. An Hee-jung and former lawmaker Chung Bong-ju, who also gave up running for Seoul mayor.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org)