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Majority of Koreans oppose ex-President Chun Doo-hwan’s interment at National Cemetery: poll

Over 60 percent of Koreans oppose former president Chun Doo-hwan’s interment at the National Cemetery, a final resting place reserved for those who made sacrifices for the country or other valuable contributions.

In a poll released Monday, 61.5 percent of 503 respondents said Chun’s interment at the National Cemetery must be prevented even at the cost of revising the law. Some 26.8 percent said his interment should be allowed as he was granted a special pardon for his crimes, while 11.7 percent said they were undecided or declined to comment.

Former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan (left) and Lee Soon-ja, his wife (Yonhap)
Former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan (left) and Lee Soon-ja, his wife (Yonhap)

The strongest opposition was voiced by people who identified themselves as liberals, with 78.7 percent objecting. The majority of self-described centrists, 64.2 percent, were also against the idea. Conservatives were nearly evenly split, with 44.2 percent against and 44.5 percent for.

While 88.4 percent of ruling Democratic Party supporters expressed overwhelming objections, with 89.6 percent saying no, 56.9 percent of main opposition Liberal Korea Party supporters were in favor, with only 27.4 percent objecting.

According to Article 5 of the Act on National Cemetery Establishment and Management, former presidents, National Assembly chairs, chief justices of the Supreme Court and heads of the Constitutional Court are among those eligible for interment at the National Cemetery.

However, that eligibility is forfeited if a person is found guilty of any of the crimes specified in clauses 87 to 90 of the Criminal Code. Chun, having committed treason, has been legally stripped of his privilege to be laid to rest at the National Cemetery. The deliberation committee on interment at the National Cemetery has the final authority over the decision.

By Kim Arin (