UPP to expel trouble-hit members
The leftist Unified Progressive Party (UPP) is to begin discussions to expel four trouble-hit lawmakers-elect Monday following their refusal to accept mounting calls to resign.
Senior members of the minor opposition party will hold a meeting with members of its in-house disciplinary committee to start the process to expel Lee Seok-gi, Kim Jae-yeon, Cho Yoon-seon and Hwang Seon.
“It’s an unfortunate but necessary decision for the progressive party to survive and to keep it intact,” interim head Kang Ki-kab wrote in “a letter to party comrades,” Saturday.
The announcement came three days after Rep. Kang issued an ultimatum to the lawmakers-elect accused of voting fraud during the competition to select UPP candidates on the proportional representation system.
On May 13, the committee voted that the four members should tender their resignation.
“I as head of the party am obliged to execute the result of the vote,” Kang wrote.
Lee reiterated he won’t accept the decision.
“Personally, this means an end to my political life. For the party, this is a devastating decision that will lead to an extreme separation within the party,” he said, urging the party to reconsider.
Kim echoed this. “I am sorry that the party leadership is making a decision that both hurts its members and pushes the party on the edge,” she was quoted as saying.
The disciplinary committee will decide their fate within 60 days.
Regardless of the decision, all four will keep their seats in the National Assembly.
A new development over the weekend adds a layer of complexity to the ongoing political infighting over the UPP’s power sharing.
The moderate faction wants the conservative group to become extinct. Immediately after the National Assembly elections, the moderate faction reported the vote-rigging scandal, which the other side initially dismissed. An internal party investigation stalled, prompting state prosecutors to become involved.
At the parliamentary elections, the UPP won 13 seats out of 300 with six through proportional representation.
Prosecutors seized the servers of three UPP computers to investigate the voting fraud. One of the files has a list of some 200,000 UPP members.
The progressive party members have accused the prosecution political repression ahead of the presidential election slated for December.
Earlier, the minor party forged a coalition with the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) to try and defeat the ruling Saenuri Party but the progressive party is now mired in corruption scandals.