Anchor: Three opposition parties jointly submitted a motion to impeach interior minister Lee Sang-min to hold him accountable for the government's mishandling of the Itaewon crowd crush that claimed the lives of 159 people. The ruling People Power Party decried the move as an attempt by the main opposition Democratic Party(DP) to deflect attention from an ongoing investigation into its chief, Lee Jae-myung.
Choi You Sun reports.
Report: The main opposition Democratic Party(DP), along with the minor Justice Party and the Basic Income Party, submitted a motion in parliament on Monday to impeach interior minister Lee Sang-min.
This came after the majority-holding DP decided to adopt the measure as a party platform at a general meeting of its lawmakers earlier in the day.
The main opposition bloc claims the minister had violated the Constitution and disaster and safety laws by failing to take appropriate steps in the aftermath of the Itaewon crowd crush last October that claimed the lives of 159 people.
The DP also considers the minister to have violated the parliamentary testimony law during a hearing by lying about his ministry’s possession of a list of bereaved families and their contact information.
DP floor leader Park Hong-keun said his party has decided to defend the values of the Constitution and to fulfill its parliamentary duty to uphold the will of the public by holding the minister accountable for the tragedy.
The ruling People Power Party(PPP) accused the opposition of attempting to deflect attention from corruption allegations surrounding DP leader Lee Jae-myung.
The DP plans to put the motion to a vote at a plenary session on Wednesday.
Passage of the motion by a majority of lawmakers would result in a suspension of the minister's authority until a ruling by the Constitutional Court, an outcome that appears likely with the DP currently holding 169 out of 300 parliamentary seats.
However, because the role of prosecutor before the court would be assumed by a PPP lawmaker as the head of the National Assembly’s judiciary committee, cooperation is unlikely.
The latest move is an escalation from the DP's move last December unilaterally approving a nonbinding motion to dismiss the minister, which was rejected by President Yoon Suk Yeol.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.