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Endorsement from ULD Plays Critical Role

Posted March. 12, 2004 23:46,   


Aside from the solidarity among the assemblymen of the Grand National Party (GNP) and the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP), the reinforcement from the United Liberal Democrats (ULD) and independent members has played the pivotal role in approving the impeachment proposal on March 12 against President Roh Moo-hyun.

One hundred ninety-five members out of 271 members of the National Assembly participated in the vote. One hundred ninety-three of the voters approved of the proposal, exceeding the two-thirds majority of 181 by 12 votes.

All 47 members affiliated with the Uri Party refused to participate in the vote in protest whereas 129 out of 145 members of the GNP showed up for the vote. Seven members who are imprisoned, including Shin Kyung-shik and Kim Young-il, and four members who are overseas, including Suh Chung-hwa, were unable to attend. Kang Chang-sung, who is under medical treatment for cancer, attended the National Assembly by ambulance and voted while in a wheelchair. The GNP leaders analyzed that all 129 of their assemblymen cast votes for approval of the proposal.

Fifty-three out of 62 members of the MDP participated in the vote. Yi Hoon-pyung, in prison, and Chung Buhm-gu, who announced his nonparticipation in the general assembly ,along with Suhl Hun and Kim Ki-jae, who opposed the impeachment, failed to show up at the assembly room. MDP’s leaders also believe that all of those members who were present at the voting approved of the impeachment.

The United Liberal Democrats, who were in opposition of the impeachment, withdrew the party platform in the morning to leave the decision to each member. Among the 10 members of the party, eight members participated in the vote, with the absence of the chairman, Kim Jong-pil, and the vice-chairman, Cho Bu-young, who was on his way back to Seoul.

Chung Mong-joon of the National Alliance 21, and Kang Sook-ja of the Democratic People’s Party, and independent assemblymen Baek Seung-hong and Kim Il-yun, who resigned from the GNP, also showed up for the vote.

Therefore, the figures show that members from the ULD and other parties as well as the independent members pitched in for the approval of the impeachment proposal even with the 182 votes from the GNP and the MDP members who were present.

There are difficulties in identifying the two voters in opposition because of the anonymity of the vote. The general opinion is that they are “sympathy votes” from some members with personal ties to the president, or that they are votes of “defiance” from those who failed to win the public nomination.

Sung-Won Park swpark@donga.com