Leftist party in panic over raid move
By Kang Hyun-kyung
The embattled minor Unified Progressive Party (UPP) was plunged into panic Monday after the prosecution raided its headquarters in Seoul to investigate the ongoing vote-rigging scandal. An internal party investigation found that the voting process for the selection of proportional representative candidates in last month’s National Assembly elections was flawed.
If the prosecution concludes the lawmakers-elect, who are refusing to step down, were involved in the illicit activities, they could lose their seats.
The raid came a day after the mainstream launched a separate leadership body to oppose the existing one led by Rep. Kang Ki-kab.
The two leadership bodies gave reporters their own briefings in reaction to the raid, though both expressed concern over the prosecution’s investigation.
Kang said the prosecution’s probe was inappropriate as the party had already finished looking into any possible irregularities, claiming the case was therefore over.
The farmer-turned-lawmaker, whose term is nearing an end as he ran unsuccessfully in the April 11 elections, said the authorities’ investigation into the scandal would threaten parliamentary politics.
He alleged the prosecution’s bid to seize the list of party members was tantamount to total oppression of the leftist party. Kang has expressed perplexity over the prosecution’s move as it could have a backlash in his bid to press the mainstream lawmakers-election to resign.
The latter also came out with a similar response.
They allege Cheong Wa Dae was behind the decision to conduct the investigation into the party’s “internal affairs,” calling it repressive.
The raid coincided with the deadline Kang had set for the trouble-hit lawmakers-elect to step down. Lee Seok-gi, one of those being pressed to resign, refused to do so.