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Court Strips Lawmaker’s Assembly Seat

Posted December. 23, 2006 06:38,   


Hahn Hwa-kap (photo), the head of the opposition Democratic Party (DP) who was booked without detention for receiving illegal political funds, was sentenced to probation by the Supreme Court Friday. The sentence automatically stripped him of his seat in the National Assembly.

The nation’s highest court upheld a lower court’s ruling that sentenced Hahn to 10 months in prison, two years of probation, and payment of one billion won of forfeit for taking illegal political contribution of 1.5 billion won from SK Group.

The sentence means the number of seats DP holds in the National Assembly will be reduced from 12 to 11. Currently, the ruling Uri Party holds 139 seats, the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) 127 seats, the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) 9 seats, People First Party 5 seats. There are five independents in the National Assembly.

The public office election law specifies that one cannot exercise their right to vote when they are sentenced to probation or incarceration. Furthermore, a provision of party rules prohibits one who doesn’t have the right to vote from being a party member. Under these rules, Hahn lost his party membership and resigned his position as head of the Democratic Party.