Published : 2013-09-06 14:08
Updated : 2013-09-06 15:50
The ruling Saenuri Party on Friday submitted a motion to expel leftist Rep. Lee Seok-ki, who was arrested Thursday for allegedly plotting an armed revolt and forming an illegal organization against South Korea.
High-level Saenuri officials also urged the government to petition the Constitutional Court to consider the disbandment of Lee’s Unified Progressive Party.
“I urge (the government) to request the Constitutional Court to disband the UPP,” Saenuri Party secretary-general Rep. Hong Moon-jong said.
He also called on the UPP not to request any information for the parliamentary audit, and said that the government should refuse requests from the minor opposition.
“I think it is only that steps are being taken to dismantle the UPP.”
Under the regulations, the government can request the Constitutional Court to review the disbandment of a political party whose actions are considered unconstitutional. At present a petition from a conservative nongovernmental group calling on the government to take the steps necessary to disband the UPP is currently under review by the Ministry of Justice.
Saenuri Party deputy floor leader Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun also called for action, saying that the Justice Ministry has had more than sufficient time to determine whether there is a legal basis to consider the UPP unconstitutional.
The main opposition Democratic Party, however, is taking a more cautious approach.
Rep. Park Beom-kye, the DP executive secretary for the Special Committee on Ethics, told the local media that discussing Lee’s expulsion should be put off at least until he is indicted and more details about the case become available.
According to Park, Lee’s expulsion will not be on the parliamentary ethics committee’s agenda in the upcoming meeting.
Some within the ruling party are also advising caution in approaching Lee’s expulsion.
“If Lee Seok-ki’s position is taken away, Kang Jong-hun will take his place. He (Kang) is the original Lee Seok-ki,” the Saenuri Party’s Rep. Ha Tae-keung wrote on this Facebook account on Friday.
“It will take about a year (for Lee to lose his position), but if he is expelled now this person (Kang) will enter the assembly immediately. Do you want to see him now?”
Kang was charged with espionage in 1975, and served in a high-level role in a North Korea-linked organization. He is also rumored to have received espionage training in North Korea. Although Kang was 18th in line to receive a UPP proportional representative seat in last year’s general elections, the candidates in the third to 17th places have since left the party, giving Kang the right to take Lee’s spot.