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[Newsmaker] Ruling party’s attempt to link Yoon to shamanism backfires

The ruling Democratic Party of Korea’s attempt to confuse People’s Power Party presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol again with allegations of shamanism has backfired, after photos suggested key figures in the within their own faction could also be involved.

Democratic Party Rep. Kim Eui-kyeom raised an allegation at a Tuesday press conference that Yoon and his wife were found linked to a questionable religious ritual in 2018 led by a shaman accused of unofficial involvement in the Yoon’s campaign team in an advisory role. .

The lawmaker unveiled photographs of the ritual held in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province, where tags bearing the names of Yoon, his wife and some People Power Party figures were found hanging at the site.

Yoon’s tag also carried the title of Chief of the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office, and his wife’s tag, the title of CEO of Covana Contents.

The ritual involved skinning a cow and hanging the skin for display next to a pile of 10 dead pigs on a stage for a ceremony, Kim said, adding that the ritual was led by the shaman who had previously been accused of having close ties to Yoon and the People Power Party Election Campaign Committee.

Kim said the ritual was not in line with Buddhist traditions, saying the ceremony had ties to marginalized religious groups and the couple should have paid a large sum to have their names entered into the ritual because it was not there weren’t many. tags displayed on the site.

In response, the People Power Party immediately denied the allegations and claimed that the names and titles of certain Democratic Party figures can also be found from photographs and videos of the scene.

The photographs the main opposition party showed to the press had hang tags with the title “president” printed on them and another with the name and title of Lee Si-jong, governor of North Chungcheong province. , who is a member of the Democratic Party.

The then president is the incumbent Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party who took over as chief administrative officer in 2017.

Representative Lee Yang-soo, a senior spokesperson for the People Power Party’s presidential election campaign committee, wondered if Kim wanted to acknowledge that even key figures from his own camp were involved in the controversial ritual.

The main opposition party also claimed the ritual was led by a personality surnamed Seo who has had close ties to Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung since he was governor of Gyeonggi province, citing reports related press releases of the time.

Seo was involved with Lee’s campaign team during his successful gubernatorial run in June 2018 and was one of seven religious group leaders to announce his support for Lee in his bid for the presidency in September.

“Rep. Kim continually and maliciously brings false accusations against candidate Yoon,” Rep. Lee said in a press release. “We ask that this not happen again, and we will file a complaint against him.”

Shamanism and mysticism in politics and administration are hot topics in South Korea, especially after former president Park Geun-hye was accused of being involved in cult rituals and of being mysteriously influenced by her close friend, Choi Seo-won, who was then known as Choi Soon-sil.

Choi’s father, a self-proclaimed pastor and founder of a dark cult called the Church of Eternal Life, was called a “Korean Rasputin”, serving as Park’s mentor and advisor and gaining his trust when Park’s mother, Yuk Young-soo was assassinated in 1974.

The allegations made against Yoon regarding shamanism have raised fears that the candidate may be influenced by shadow figures, as was the case with the former president until her impeachment.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Democratic Party strongly denounced the People’s Power Party and its presidential candidate for its alleged links to shamanism and mysticism.

“It’s shocking to find Yoon Suk-yeol’s name on the animal abuse denigrating site, but it’s even more appalling to find him running for president of the main opposition party,” Rep. Kang Byung-won said. , a senior spokesperson for the Democratic Party’s campaign committee, in a statement.

“Applicant Yoon insisted that he had no close connection to the shaman, saying he had only been introduced to him once. He has to answer why the names of him and his wife were to the ritual if he really does not know the shaman.”

By Ko Jun-tae ([email protected])