The left wing United Progressive Party (UPP) yesterday decided to kick out four members; the two proportional representative lawmakers at the center of a vote-rigging scandal and two other individuals.
According to a UPP statement outlining the decision late last night, “The four markedly violated their obligation to abide by the party's constitution and regulations and follow the party's instructions."
The four includes two proportional representative lawmakers, Lee Seok Gi and Kim Jae Yeon, and two candidates for proportional representative who did not win seats in the National Assembly, Cho Yoon Sook and Hwang Seon.
“They also let down the people who have been hoping for the reform of the party,” the statement went on. “The committee adjudges that it would be inappropriate for them to work as UPP lawmakers, and adopts the demand that they be stripped of their party membership.”
Both Lee and Kim reacted angrily to the decision, with Kim, who was present at the meeting, commenting, “I needed time to prepare a response, but while ignoring this fact they set the schedule and held this meeting.”
Someone from the Lee camp speaking in his absence noted, “They have cast aside the truth and chosen political interests, so we cannot accept this decision and will begin the appeal process.”
If the decision stands as expected, Lee and Kim would nevertheless be free to operate as independent lawmakers or join another party. However, many conservative Saenuri Party lawmakers would like to see them thrown out of the National Assembly, a decision which would require approval from 2/3 of all lawmakers.