While the possibility of President Moon Jae-in issuing a special amnesty on the Aug. 15 Liberation Day has been raised, various prospects are emerging from the political circles on the future of former Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye.
In particular, there is speculation in the political circles that only former President Park will be eligible for the amnesty and Lee will be excluded. This is the so-called ‘separated amnesty theory’.
There are two main reasons for this argument: the nature of the crime and public opinion.
A high-ranking ruling party official said in a phone call with JoongAng Ilbo on July 22, "As the discussion on the pardon of Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong is ongoing, the theory of amnesty of former President Park, which is related to the charge of Vice Chairman Lee, is naturally being raised together.
"We are also hearing opinions that even former President Park should be pardoned first, with the intention of achieving the national unity within President Moon's term of office.”
On the other hand, regarding the former President Lee, he said, "Unlike former President Park, who was arrested in the case of state affairs manipulation, there is little justification for amnesty because Lee was arrested for personal corruption such as embezzlement and bribery. Also, there is a possibility that public opinion on Lee in particular is not better.”
The public opinion he mentioned is related to former President Roh Moo-hyun. It is said that the ruling party supporters are still very antipathetic to the prosecution's investigation into former President Roh Moo-hyun, which was conducted in the early days of Lee's Presidency.