SEOUL, May 2 (Korea Bizwire) — More than half of South Koreans oppose granting a pardon to former President Lee Myung-bak, a poll showed Monday, amid rising speculation outgoing President Moon Jae-in may use his clemency powers to set Lee free before he leaves office.
The Korea Society Opinion Institute survey of 1,012 adults, conducted between Friday and Saturday, showed 51.7 percent of respondents are against pardoning Lee, while 40.4 percent are in support of amnesty for the former president.
Lee’s pardon has emerged as a key issue after Moon said last week he will determine whether to pardon Lee after taking judicial justice and public consensus into consideration, noting there are not only cons but also pros to the envisioned pardon.
Moon is widely speculated to use the occasion of Buddha’s Birthday on Sunday, a day before his five-year term ends, to pardon Lee, who is serving a 17-year prison term for embezzlement and bribery.
The poll also found 56.9 percent of the respondents oppose granting a pardon to former South Gyeongsang Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo, a close aide to Moon who is in jail for public opinion rigging. Another 28.8 percent were in support.
In contrast, 68.8 percent were in favor of granting a pardon to Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, who is currently on parole after serving time for bribery and embezzlement. Only 23.5 percent were opposed to his pardon.
On Chung Kyung-sim, former Justice Minister Cho Kuk’s wife who is convicted of falsifying some of her daughter’s college admission documents and other charges, 57.2 percent objected to her pardon, while 30.5 percent supported it.
Meanwhile, 46 percent of the respondents said they are against giving parliamentary approval to Prime Minister nominee Han Duck-soo. A total of 36.8 percent supported it.
In South Korea, prime minister is the only Cabinet post that requires parliamentary approval. Confirmation hearings on Han have been scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.
The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.