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Uri Party Majority Collapses

Posted March. 25, 2005 23:34,   


Uri Party lawmakers Lee Chul-woo (Pocheon-Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi) and Kim Maeng-gon (Gimhae, South Gyeongsang) were disqualified as members of the National Assembly on Friday, when a guilty ruling of their violations of the election law was upheld.

Accordingly, the number of Uri Party lawmakers was reduced to 146 seats in the 292-member National Assembly, and the Uri Party’s parliamentary majority (147 seats), which had been maintained since the opening of the 17th National Assembly, collapsed. The Grand National Party has 120 seats.

The judicial commission of the Supreme Court (Chief Judge: Lee Yong-woo) supported the original verdict that fined Lee and Kim, who were accused of violating the election law, 2.5 million won and 3 million won, respectively.

The two were divested of their seats on the basis of an election law provision that states, “If successful candidates are fined more than 1 million own, their election will be invalidated.”

A total of six members of the 17th National Assembly lost their seats based on charges of violating the election law, including Uri Party member Lee Sang-lak (Jungwon, Seongnam, Gyeonggi), Oh Si-deok (Gongju-Yeongi, South Chungcheong), Bok Gi-wang (Asan, South Chungcheong), and Grand National Party member Lee Duk-mo (Youngcheon, North Gyeongsang).

These electoral districts will see reelection on April 30, and the election result will affect the possibility of Uri Party’s regaining majority.

In addition, the number of lawmakers who will be divested of their seats is expected to increase, as there are many lawmakers, including Uri Party members Kang Sung-jong, Oh Young-sik, Shin Gye-ryoon, Lee Ho-woong, Grand National Party members Park Chang-dal, Kim Tae-hwan, Park Hyuk-gyoo, Democratic Labor Party member Cho Seung-soo, Millennium Democratic Party member Kim Hong-il, and United Liberal Democrats Party member Lee In-je, who are being tried with the lower court’s sentence of invalidation of the election.

Ex-lawmaker Lee Chul-woo was fined 2.5 million won at the second judicial trial on charges of publicizing a falsehood, saying, “A Grand National Party candidate named Goh said that ‘voters in their 20s and 30s may go out to play on election day as they don’t need to vote,’” degrading his rival in a canvassing tour in April 2004.

Another Uri Party member Kim Maeng-gon was fined 3 million won at the second trial for abusive language toward an official of the National Election Commission in January 2004, which was preceded by presenting flowerpots to a newly opened shop in his electoral district in November 2003.