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Broadcasting Watchdog Chief Steps down before DP-Led Impeachment

Written: 2023-12-01 14:30:28Updated: 2023-12-01 16:08:56

Broadcasting Watchdog Chief Steps down before DP-Led Impeachment

Photo : YONHAP News

Anchor: The chief of the broadcasting watchdog has stepped down ahead of a parliamentary vote to impeach him. Explaining his reasoning, Korea Communications Commission Chair Lee Dong-kwan said that he did not want to burden President Yoon Suk Yeol with a hamstrung agency.
Kim Bum-soo has more. 

Report: Amid a controversial political standoff over his impeachment, Korea Communications Commission(KCC) Chair Lee Dong-kwan has stepped down just hours ahead of a parliamentary vote on the matter. 

Instead of leaving his fate to the opposition-dominated parliament, Lee offered his resignation to President Yoon Suk Yeol Thursday night, which was accepted the following day, according to the top office.

[Sound bite: former Korea Communications Commission Chair Lee Dong-kwan (Korean-English)]
"I am not resigning due to pressure from the massive opposition party. Neither is it a political ploy that the opposition claims. It is coming from my loyalty to the country and the president. If the massive opposition party's impeachment of me is realized, we don't know how many months it will take for the court decision to be rendered."

An impeachment of the head of the nation's broadcast watchdog would have resulted in a suspension of his duties for several months until a judgment is rendered by the Constitutional Court.

[Sound bite: former Korea Communications Commission Chair Lee Dong-kwan (Korean-English)]
"During that time, the KCC will be in a vegetative state, and over the controversies surrounding my impeachment, the National Assembly will be paralyzed. This is my duty to avoid this as a public official."

The political clash over the powerful broadcast media regulator comes as rival parties are gearing up for the general elections in April next year.

The five-member KCC has been operated by Lee and his deputy, both appointed by the president, while the remaining three commissioner positions remain vacant.

The main opposition Democratic Party(DP) had sought to impeach Lee, accusing him of exercising undue control over the nation's broadcasting media and infringing on their independence. Lee countered that he had not violated the Constitution or other laws of the nation during the some three months since his inauguration in late August.

The DP, with a controlling majority in parliament, re-filed an impeachment motion for him on Thursday with the Assembly to be voted on in the following day's plenary session.

In protest against the main opposition’s move, the ruling People Power Party(PPP) staged an overnight sit-in in the rotunda hall of the parliament building until Friday morning.

The PPP blasted Assembly speaker Kim Jin-pyo and DP chief Lee Jae-myung for attempting to force the impeachment through the session, which was meant to handle the budget bill for 2024. 

The KCC will be led by Vice Chairman Lee Sang-in until the president appoints a new chief after parliamentary proceedings.
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.

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