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Parliament to Open Probe of Fatal Itaewon Crowd Crush on Thursday

Written: 2022-11-23 18:56:37Updated: 2022-11-23 19:19:58

Parliament to Open Probe of Fatal Itaewon Crowd Crush on Thursday

Photo : YONHAP News

A parliamentary inspection into last month's fatal crowd crush in Seoul’s Itaewon area will begin on Thursday. 

The floor leaders of the ruling People Power Party(PPP) and the main opposition Democratic Party(DP) on Wednesday agreed on the launch of the probe following negotiations on the thorny issue. 

Under the agreement, the investigation will begin with a preliminary preparation phase and then enter a full-fledged stage once the rival parties agree on the government’s budget plan for next year. The deadline for passing the budget bill is December 2nd. 

The probe’s duration has been set at 45 days but is subject to an extension via vote, apparently considering a possible delay in bipartisan negotiations on the 2023 budget bill. The inspection will officially begin upon a vote taken in a parliamentary plenary session scheduled for Thursday. 

The situation room of the presidential office will come under scrutiny, as well as the national crisis management center, the prime minister’s office, the safety and health ministries. 

Also to be probed are the Seoul City and the Yongsan District Office, Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, the National Police Agency, municipal and district police offices, and national and regional anti-disaster authorities. 

A special parliamentary committee, which will oversee the probe, will comprise 18 members, half of them from the DP, which holds a majority of the seats in parliament. 

The PPP will occupy seven seats of the committee while the two remaining seats will be given to minor opposition parties. The committee's leadership will be assumed by a DP lawmaker. 

The agreement was reached after the ruling camp withdrew its initial stance that such a probe be held only if an ongoing police investigation into the matter is concluded and assessed to be insufficient.

The bipartisan unity comes more than three weeks after the crowd crush that killed 158 people in central Seoul where large crowds had poured into the alleys of Itaewon to celebrate Halloween.

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