South Korea’s spy agency admits trying to rig 2012 presidential poll

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Photo: Reuters

South Korea‘s spy agency has admitted it conducted an illicit campaign to influence the country’s 2012 presidential election, mobilising teams of experts to ensure that the conservative candidate, Park Geun-hye, beat her liberal rival.

An internal investigation by the powerful National Intelligence Service (NIS) also revealed attempts by its former director and other senior officials to influence voters during parliamentary elections under Park’s predecessor, the hardline right-winger Lee Myung-bak, the Guardian newspaper reported.

Park, who narrowly beat the current President Moon Jae-in, to become the country’s first female president in the 2012 vote, is standing trial on charges of corruption and abuse of power and faces life in prison.

Moon, who was the target of a smear campaign by the NIS during his first failed run for the presidential Blue House in 2012, has vowed to reform the spy agency to prevent it from influencing future elections.

He has said intelligence officials should focus on foreign affairs, including countering the threat from North Korea, according to the daily.

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