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"Reasonable for the New Assembly to Withdraw Impeachment"

"Reasonable for the New Assembly to Withdraw Impeachment"

Posted March. 15, 2004 22:34,   


Justice Minister Kang Kum-sil said on Monday that it is desirable for the newly-established National Assembly from the general election to withdraw the impeachment motion if legally permissible, as the majority of the people are opposed to the decision.

In off-the-record remarks, Kang told reporters, “Given the Constitutional Court law, because the procedure of an impeachment trial follows that of criminal trial, the National Assembly can withdraw an impeachment bill just like a prosecutor withdraws an accusation.”

Those remarks made by the Justice Minister are likely to raise controversy again in the sense that a high government official gave words that could affect the general election.

“Impeachment has never been expected before and was the last thing to be realized, but now it becomes a reality,” said Kang. “To think of it, the (unprecedented) investigation into presidential campaign funds could be one of the reasons that brought impeachment.”

Kang explained that a large number of the people are against the impeachment not because they are supporting President Roh Moo-hyun, but because they may be angry about the National Assembly’s disregard of the public who selected the president. She also criticized the politicians who took little consideration of the suspension of political order supported by constitutional law, saying that it is dangerous to approach it as a strategic means.

Kang said that the process of impeachment trial will be over in early April at the earliest, adding that she expects the Constitutional Court will decide promptly.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice announced that it will make public its stance on the impeachment after the submission of impeachment related statements on March 23 at the request of the Constitutional Court.

The Justice Ministry said that its written opinion will include the lawfulness of impeachment procedures and that of the impeachment itself. The Ministry also said that it is currently working on the legal performance range of acting head of state Goh Kun in cooperation with the Office for Government Policy Coordination. The Justice Ministry reportedly defined that the Prime Minister will exercise the authority of the President to an ordinary extent as an administrator, but some cases such as amnesty and reshuffling are not to be included among his duties.

Soo-Hyung Lee sooh@donga.com