The Unified Progressive Party on Wednesday officially jumpstarted its emergency leadership council to cope with the escalating crisis following its vote-rigging dispute and the violent clash during its recent central committee meeting.
The new nine-member panel led by reformers got to a rough start as the mainstreamers and lawmakers-elect at the center of the scandal boycotted the gathering.
Four non-mainstream figures have been named to the panel and the remaining five will be selected from labor unions and external organizations, Kang Ki-kab, chief of the interim leadership. said.
“We have yet to appoint five members, but decided to kick off without delay, considering the urgency of the situation,” he said.
Kang invited Lee Sang-kyu, considered a moderate member of the mainstream faction, to join the committee. But he turned the offer down.
The panel must execute the UPP central committee’s decision to replace disputed proportional representatives.
“We have to come up with a viable solution by May 30,” Kang said.
|Kang Ki-kab, emergency council chief of the Unified Progressive Party, bows in apology on Wednesday to Kim Young-hoon, chairman of the Korean Federation of Trade Unions. (Yonhap News)|
“I will arrange meetings with the contentious candidates today and discuss the issue of their withdrawal.”
The 19th parliamentary term begins on May 31, after which registered lawmakers cannot be disqualified without an agreement by two-thirds of the House.
The embattled interim chief also said that he will establish a special subcommittee to investigate and punish those responsible for the violent disruption of the party’s meeting Saturday.
The sudden mob attack not only further shamed hard-line mainstreamers but left many, including former co-chair Cho Jun-ho, injured.
Cho experienced a sudden cervical disk problem and underwent surgery Wednesday morning, according to party officials.
The disputed lawmakers-elect still refuse to give up their status.
“I cannot agree to resign unless the irregularity allegations are properly proven true,” said Kim Jae-yeon, the No. 3 candidate on the party list, in a radio interview. “The fact-finding committee’s investigation process was flawed and partial.”
She expressed regrets over the attacks during the central committee meeting.
“Such violence should never have happened,” Kim said.
She, however, denied the allegations that the sudden attack was planned in advance.
Kim Mi-hee, the party’s elected lawmaker in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, also reproached the central committee’s decision-making process and the establishment of the emergency panel.
“The only solution for the UPP is to conduct a general vote by all party members and reach a consensus,” Kim told reporters.
By Bae Hyun-jung (email@example.com