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NPAD disciplines senior lawmaker

The main opposition party decided on Tuesday to discipline an outspoken lawmaker for making incendiary remarks that triggered fractional feuds and leadership dysfunction, putting an end to weeks-long debates over the lawmaker’s vulgar comments.

The New Politics Alliance for Democracy’s ethics committee said it would suspend Rep. Jung Chung-rae from his post in the party for a year. Jung’s remark, criticizing a fellow party member, was brought to the committee after NPAD members filed a protest against him.

“Six out of nine members of the ethics committee approved the suspension of Jung’s post for a year,” said Rep. Kang Chang-hee, chairman of the NPAD ethics committee. “We have come to a conclusion after collecting relevant information such as a petition by party members,” said Kang.

The move, to be implemented in seven days, will oust Jung from his seat on the NPAD Supreme Council. He will, however, be able to run for next year’s general election as he managed to retain his party membership.

Jung, known for being outspoken against lawmakers, came under intense criticism from within the party for his vulgar comments against fellow NPAD Supreme Council member Rep. Joo Seung-yong during a council meeting earlier this month.

On May 8, Jung accused Joo of “blackmailing” the party by threatening to resign and blamed him for “sabotaging” the party’s unity. Joo had said he would resign from his post, urging the party to overhaul the leadership after crushing defeats in the April by-elections.

Joo then resigned, and NPAD members, mostly nonmainstream party lawmakers, urged Jung to apologize. He visited Joo’s home to mend fences with him. Joo accepted Jung’s apology, but refused to return to the post.

Mindful of escalating fractional tensions surrounding the issue, NPAD leader Rep. Moon Jae-in asked Jung on May 13 not to attend meetings of the party’s top decision-making body until the committee reached a decision. Jung complied and vowed to remain quiet until the decision.

By Yeo Jun-suk (