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Ruling Party to Expel Lawmaker over Sexist Comments

Posted July. 21, 2010 11:30,   


The ruling Grand National Party will expel Rep. Kang Yong-seok for making sexually inappropriate comments.

In an ethics committee meeting Tuesday, the party decided to expel him in an unprecedented move. Committee chairman Rep. Joo Sung-young told a National Assembly briefing, “Rep. Kang will be dismissed from the party under a rule of the central ethics committee stipulating that a member should not undermine the party’s reputation.”

“The expulsion is the sternest punishment of all,” Joo said. “If lawmakers decide to dismiss Kang (at a general meeting of National Assembly members), he will be prevented from reentering the party for five years.”

A two thirds vote of incumbent lawmakers is needed to expel Kang at the general meeting.

Prior to the decision, the major daily JoongAng Ilbo said Kang told a female student at a dinner with 20 college students after a national debate competition Friday, "Do you want to be an anchorwoman though you have to be ready to `go all the way?`"

Kang reportedly added, “(At the presidential office), the president only looked at you. If the first lady hadn’t been there, he would’ve asked for your (phone) number.”

The beleaguered lawmaker denied making the comments to reporters at the National Assembly, saying, “I never made indecent comments. I will take every legal action against unfounded and distorted reports.”

“The student said she was struggling with which career to choose: an anchorwoman or reporters. So I expressed my personal opinion that a reporter would be the better option.”

“While talking at a dinner at the presidential office, I just mentioned that President (Lee Myung-bak) asked her what university she attends and what her major is,” Kang said, “I never said what the report said.”

“I called the student and confirmed that she didn’t hear from me what the report said,” he said. “She said she told a reporter from the daily that she never heard such comments from me.”

The ruling party apparently seeks to prevent damage to its image shortly after naming a new chairman and before the July 28 by-elections, experts said.

Party leader Ahn Sang-soo said in the morning, “If the comments are confirmed to be true, strong and determined measures including Kang’s expulsion from the party should be taken.”

The party’s female lawmakers also urged action, including Kang’s expulsion from the party, if he is confirmed to have made the comments.