The floor leader of the ruling People Power Party warned Tuesday that the main opposition Democratic Party should bear all responsibility for any confusion that could arise from an impeachment motion against the interior minister.
Rep. Joo Ho-young made the remark a day after the DP submitted an impeachment motion against Interior Minister Lee Sang-min to hold him responsible for the government's alleged bungled response to last year's Itaewon crowd crush.
The DP plans to pass the motion through the National Assembly on Wednesday. As the party holds more than a majority of parliamentary seats, it is sure to pass. The motion then goes to the Constitutional Court that has 180 days to determine whether to approve it.
Once the motion passes through the Assembly, Minister Lee will be immediately suspended, leaving the ministry without a leader until the Constitutional Court makes a decision.
The PPP has argued that the requirements for impeachment are not met in Lee's case, citing police investigation results that decided not to hold any officials from the ministry, the Seoul city government or the national police agency accountable for the tragedy.
"If the DP-led impeachment motion is rejected, it would have to take responsibility for all the confusion and conclusion coming from it," Joo told a party response meeting.
Joo said that while the Itaewon crowd crush, which killed 159 people on Oct. 29, is an "unfortunate disaster that should never happen again," impeaching the minister is "another issue."
The DP went ahead to impeach the interior minister after President Yoon Suk Yeol did not comply with a dismissal motion it railroaded against Minister Lee in December.
The PPP has accused the DP of pushing ahead with the impeachment motion for political purposes at a time when party leader Lee Jae-myung has been under investigation over a series of corruption allegations. (Yonhap)