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(LEAD) Election watchdog apologizes for nepotism suspicions

14:42 May 30, 2023

(ATTN: ADDS NEC chairperson's quotes in para 7; CORRECTS info in para 8)

SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) -- The head of the election watchdog apologized Tuesday over suspicions that children of some agency officials were unfairly hired, and promised to investigate all hirings to uncover any irregularities.

The National Election Commission has come under suspicions of nepotism after revelations that children of senior officials joined the agency by applying for experienced positions. The NEC's secretary-general and his deputy resigned last week, though they claimed their children were hired in a fair and transparent manner.

Four other NEC officials were also found to have children working at the election watchdog.

"I am sorry for causing concern to the people," NEC Chairperson Rho Tae-ak told reporters, when asked to comment on calls from the ruling People Power Party for him to step down to take responsibility over the hiring suspicions.

Rho also said the commission will look into all hirings to see if any irregularities were involved.

The NEC held an emergency meeting to come up with reform measures aimed at enhancing personnel transparency.

After the meeting, Roh said how to improve systems was discussed.

"My basic stance is to contemplate measures from the eye level of the people ... and not to disappoint them again," Rho told reporters.

The commission is scheduled to convene another emergency meeting Wednesday to receive a report on the special audit results regarding four executives involved in the hiring favor scandal.

The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission also launched an investigation into the hiring suspicions.

Rho Tae-ak, the Chairperson of the National Election Commission, presides over an emergency meeting at the commission's headquarters in Gwacheon, south of Seoul, on May 30, 2023. (Yonhap)


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