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Motions on opposition leader's arrest, dismissal of PM to be submitted to parliament

09:52 September 20, 2023

SEOUL, Sept. 20 (Yonhap) -- Two separate motions seeking the arrest of opposition leader Lee Jae-myung and the dismissal of Prime Minister Han Duck-soo are set to be submitted during the parliament's plenary session on Wednesday.

According to the National Assembly Act, lawmakers are mandated to vote on such motions within 72 hours of their submission to the parliamentary plenary session. The vote can begin 24 hours after the submission.

In accordance, the motions will be put to a vote during a plenary session scheduled for Thursday.

The motion requesting parliamentary consent to lift the arrest immunity of Lee of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) is set to be reported following President Yoon Suk Yeol's approval a day earlier.

Under the law, sitting lawmakers are immune from arrest while the parliament is in session. The prosecution must obtain parliament's consent to detain lawmakers.

Lee has been accused of breach of trust, bribery and other charges in connection with a scandal-ridden land development project and involvement in a company's illegal cash remittance to North Korea.

The motion, however, can be rejected if DP lawmakers vote against it, as the party holds a majority with 167 seats in the 297-member parliament.

In February, the prosecution's attempt to detain Lee on allegations of corruption in two separate corruption cases fell through after the parliamentary disapproval.

The DP has strongly condemned the Yoon government and the prosecution for seeking the warrant when the regular National Assembly session is under way, even though Lee declared he would cooperate. Lee had stated he would waive his privilege and consent to the warrant during a non-session period.

Separately, the DP submitted the motion seeking Han's dismissal to the parliament on Monday, accusing him of serious incompetence as chief of the Cabinet and holding him responsible for what it called the Yoon administration's failures in areas including the response to Japan's release of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant and the mismanagement of last month's World Scout Jamboree.

However, Yoon is expected to reject the motion, despite its highly likely passage on Thursday.

The DP has passed two dismissal motions since the launch of the Yoon administration -- one against Foreign Minister Park Jin and another against Interior Minister Lee Sang-min. Both were rejected by the president.

The presidential office sees the DP's move against Han as a political offensive aimed at diverting public attention and boosting party unity ahead of an upcoming parliamentary vote on whether to allow the arrest of Lee.

This image, taken on Sept. 20, 2023, shows the National Assembly building in western Seoul. (Yonhap)



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