Anchor: The ruling party and three minor opposition parties are seeking to expel three lawmakers of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party(LKP) for making disparaging remarks about the 1980 Gwangju Uprising. However, the LKP's numbers in the assembly may make it difficult for the action to succeed. Kim Bum-soo has more.
Report: The ruling and minor opposition parties filed a petition with the parliamentary ethics committee Tuesday, seeking to expel main opposition lawmakers for their controversial remarks about the May 18th Uprising.
In a public forum last week, Representatives Kim Jin-tae, Lee Jong-myeong and Kim Soon-rye invited right wing political commentator Jee Man-won, and alleged that North Korean soldiers systematically incited the protesters in the 1980 pro-democracy uprising.
[Sound bite: Rep. Lee Jong-myeong - Liberty Korea Party (Feb. 8/Korean)]
"It's been 40-years since the riot, isn't it time to overturn it?"
[Sound bite: Rep. Kim Soon-rye - Liberty Korea Party (Feb. 8/Korean)]
"A strange monster group has been created under the name of May Uprising contributors to waste our tax money."
During the forum, ex-President Chun Doo-hwan was referred to as a hero for mobilizing special forces and crushing the protesters who took up arms in the southwestern city. Hundreds are estimated to have been killed and thousands were injured due to the crackdown.
In the petition, the parties accuse the three lawmakers of denying the historical aspect of the uprising and say their humiliating remarks degrade the honor and authority of the National Assembly.
The petition also says the lawmakers insulted those who devoted themselves to democracy and the judgments of the constitutional regime.
Besides seeking to expel the three LKP lawmakers from parliament, the ruling party also wants to enact a special law for punishing those who distort the historical aspect of the pro-democracy uprising
To expel a lawmaker, consent is required from two-thirds of the assembly. However, the liberty Korea Party holds more than a third of the seats, making it difficult for the motion to succeed.
Amid the public outcry, the interim leader of the Liberty Korea Party, Kim Byung-joon held a news conference, apologizing to the families of the victims and Gwangju citizens.
[Sound bite: Kim Byung-joon - head of Liberty Korea Party emergency leadership committee]
"The theory of North Korean military intervention has been confirmed to be groundless through various state investigative authorities over the last 39 years. Continuing such claims would only dishonor the people regardless of conservativism. Especially, a lawmaker of a political party should not be allowed to stage a venue for such claims."
The LKP leader said that the party's ethics committee will deal with the lawmakers on its own, adding that the party's Floor Leader Na Kyung-won, when she comes back from her trip to the U.S., will announce if the three should be reprimanded by the parliamentary ethics committee.
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.