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Disgraced Lee Jun-seok officially kicked out of ruling party

Former People Power Party Chairman Lee Jun-seok leaves the Seoul Southern District Court after attending a questioning for an injunction request on Sept. 28. (Joint Press Corps)
Former People Power Party Chairman Lee Jun-seok leaves the Seoul Southern District Court after attending a questioning for an injunction request on Sept. 28. (Joint Press Corps)

After a monthslong internal feud, the ruling party’s ethics panel decided on an extra one-year suspension for Lee Jun-seok, the former chair of People Power Party.

Lee was pushed off the brink Thursday with the court turning down his request for an injunction to suspend the party’s interim chair Chung Jin-suk from duty.

The ruling party’s ethics panel held a meeting the same day at the National Assembly to discuss the disciplinary measures for Lee.

"We decided on an extra one-year suspension for Lee, adding on to the previous six-month suspension decided in July,” Lee Yang-hee, the head of the ethics panel said Friday, after the five-hour overnight meeting. “It was a unanimous vote.”

With the latest measure, Lee will be suspended until January 2024. He will not be able to run in the parliamentary election slated for 2024, unless he is nominated by the party leadership.

“Lee not only denied the rightful decision of the court, but also rejected the democratic, normal decision-making process within the party, which is an inappropriate act for a party member and the chair on suspension,” Lee said.

Though Lee Jun-seok was asked to attend the ethics committee meeting held Thursday he did not showed up.

President Yoon Suk-yeol did not comment on the party’s decision on Lee.

“Please give me other questions. I haven’t answered on party matters,” Yoon said when reporters asked him to comment on the decision on his way to the presidential office on Friday morning.

It was suspected that Yoon was not in an amiable relationship with Lee as a leaked text message conversation between the president and the floor leader Rep. Kweon Seong-dong showed Yoon saying "Our party is doing better. It’s different now that the party leader, who was just picking fights within his own party, was replaced," referring to Lee in July after he was suspended due to a sexual bribery scandal.

Former lawmaker Yoo Seung-min, who is known to be close to Lee, criticized the party’s decision, mentioning Yoon.

“It is ridiculous that the freedom and the right to appeal to the court to reinstate honor after being suspended from the party chair post is a reason for a disciplinary measure,” Yoo wrote on his social media account Friday.

“What is the ethics committee’s stance on Yoon who lost trust and caused damage upon the party?” he wrote, referring to Yoon’s alleged use of a vulgar insult on his trip to the US.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)

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