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Democratic Party submits impeachment motion

Posted February. 09, 2023 07:51,   

Updated February. 09, 2023 07:51


In just 20 minutes after the motion for impeachment against Interior Minister Lee Sang-min was passed at the plenary session of the National Assembly on Wednesday, the Presidential Office issued a statement that it is a complete abandonment of parliamentarism and that it will be written as a disgrace in the history of national assembly affairs.

The Presidential Office has been reviewing possible scenarios of response to the passage of an impeachment motion against the interior minister. However, when the motion passed, the Presidential Office denounced that it was “the giant opposition party’s tyranny” and “de facto election denialism” for the DP to tackle every single legislative bill and even attempt to impeach a cabinet member.

The Presidential Office, however, appears to have decided to await the Constitutional Court’s determination and strive to minimize a void in administration, as the passage of the impeachment motion itself was done by the current law, albeit criticizing it as the main opposition party’s abuse of power. A key official in the Presidential Office said in a phone call with The Dong-A Ilbo that it has no choice but to have confidence in the resilience of the constitutional system of liberal democracy of the Republic of Korea. “If the Constitutional Court is reasonable, it will deliver a wise decision in a short time.” Another high-ranking official denounced the passage of the impeachment motion as the main opposition party’s “maneuver to cover up a political scandal of Representative Lee Jae-myung, developing into a risk of the whole party,” and that the opposition party must change its course of action.

The Presidential Office believes it is unlikely that the impeachment motion would be invoked in the Constitutional Court even though the motion passed the National Assembly. Lee Jin-bok, senior presidential secretary for political affairs, visited the National Assembly this morning and told reporters that the opposition party is wrong to wield its majority power to pass an impeachment bill even though the minister did not violate the Constitution or any law, indicating that there are no grounds for impeachment as required by the law, such as a violation of the Constitution, law, and the State Public Officials Act related to prevention and response of disasters, etc. Another key official of the Presidential Office anticipated that it would not take long for the Constitutional Court to decide as there is no clear evidence that the minister violated the Constitution and laws.

As Minister Lee’s duties are suspended, Vice Minister Han Chang-seop will serve as an acting minister. Some said a person from the prosecution who can wield power in terms of controlling the ministry and carrying forward the agenda should be appointed as the new vice minister. Still, the Presidential Office is planning to fill the vacancy under the leadership of the current vice minister.

Kyu-Jin Shin newjin@donga.com · Joo-Young Jeon aimhigh@donga.com