The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy on Monday filed an impeachment motion against the home affairs minister for violating neutrality of public officials by delivering controversial toast in favor of the Saenuri Party.
In an impeachment proposal against Minister of Security and Public Administration Chong Jong-sup, the NPAD lawmakers said he had violated the election law by chanting “victory at any cost” during a dinner with the Saenuri Party lawmakers last month.
Rep. Han Jeong-ae of the NPAD. Yonhap
“Chong violated the law especially considering the fact that he holds the position that oversees the elections,” the party said.
But the party decided to reserve the impeachment on Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan who made similar comments in favor of the Saenuri Party during the same dinner. Choi refused to apologize for his remark.
A source said that any move against Choi would be decided later by taking the parliamentary audit procedure into consideration.
The rival parties are gearing up for parliamentary elections next April.
As the controversy escalated, Chong held a news conference last month and apologized for his toast but refused to step down, instead vowing to ensure that his ministry would remain neutral in elections.
The ruling Saenuri Party, meanwhile, rebuked the NPAD’s move, calling it an excessive political offensive.
The party said that because only incumbent ruling party members were present at the dinner, Chong’s toast had no political motivation.
Under relevant laws, the National Assembly can initiate an impeachment motion against a Cabinet minister if one-third of the lawmakers endorses it. Over half of the 298-member Assembly must vote for the motion to be referred to the Constitutional Court. Prospects of the motion passing the Assembly remain slim as the Saenuri Party holds the majority of the 159 seats.
By Yeo Jun-suk (email@example.com