Democrats may punish Choo over union voteThe Democratic Party yesterday began discussing possible disciplinary action against Representative Choo Mi-ae, who chairs the National Assembly’s Environment and Labor Committee.
Choo, one of the party’s senior lawmakers, upset many fellow party members when on Dec. 30 she opened a session at the committee to vote on the planned revision of regulations governing labor unions and union wages. The DP had earlier opposed the ruling party’s proposal.
The eight Grand Nationals on the committee approved a similar revision bill, proposed by Choo, and moved it forward to the legislative committee. Ahead of the voting, Grand Nationals scuffled with opposition representatives, eventually blocking them from entering the conference room to stop the vote on the bill.
The Democrats on the labor committee yesterday gathered to discuss what the party should do to punish Choo. DP floor leader Lee Kang-rae asked the party’s ethics committee to discipline Choo for ignoring the party’s decision by allowing the voting.
“In my personal opinion, we must hand down the maximum punishment, including expulsion,” said Representative Ooh Che-chang, a party spokesman.
While some Democrats demanded Choo be expelled from the party, others defended her.
“Just because the party’s stance differs from a lawmaker’s, it cannot be a reason to punish a lawmaker,” Hahn Hwa-kap, senior adviser and former chairman of the Democratic Party, said in an interview with PBC yesterday.
The final decision will be made at the DP lawmakers’ general assembly on Friday.
The DP also decided to bring the case to the National Assembly’s ethics committee, arguing that Choo had acted inappropriately as a committee chairwoman by blocking opposition lawmakers from participating in the voting.
Choo, however, rejected the Democrats’ criticism. “The party never made clear its stance on the matter, and opposition lawmakers have boycotted the session, so there is nothing wrong with what I have done,” Choo said Monday in a press conference.
By Ser Myo-ja [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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