Kang slow in resigning on false claim

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Kang slow in resigning on false claim

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Independent lawmaker Kang Yong-seok announced that he would resign from his position on Feb. 23 when his accusation that Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon’s son tried to dodge his compulsory military service turned out to be false.

However, Kang is now embroiled in another controversy. He submitted his letter of resignation on Feb. 29 when he should have submitted it before Feb. 27 for it to be accepted during the National Assembly plenary session.

Kang’s belated action has drawn criticism that he was trying to prevent the resignation from taking effect immediately by deliberately submitting the letter of resignation after the scheduled plenary session.

As another plenary session isn’t scheduled until May, Kang will serve out his term until May 29. During the previous Assembly plenary session on Feb. 27, National Assembly Speaker Park Hee-tae’s resignation was accepted, but the resignation of Kang wasn’t even mentioned.

Park was indicted on Feb. 21 over an attempt to buy votes in the 2008 leadership election of the ruling party, becoming the first incumbent leader of the legislature to face criminal prosecution.

In order for a letter of resignation, submitted by an incumbent National Assembly member during his or her term, to be accepted by the National Assembly, it must either be decided during the plenary session or the chairman of the National Assembly must accept it while closing the session. However the chair of the National Assembly will sit vacant and no plenary session will be convenced before Kang serves out his term in May. Thus it is most likely that Kang will continue to receive his monthly paycheck of about 9.36 million won ($8,393) - including about 7 million won for his regular salary and 2.36 million won for expenses - until he finishes his term at the end of May.

In January, Kang insisted that Park Ju-sin, 27, the son of the Seoul mayor, submitted a false MRI picture to the Military Manpower Administration in order to be exempted from his military duty. Park’s innocence was proven on Feb. 22 when he underwent an open physical examination at Yonsei University’s Severance Hospital to clear himself of suspicion.

By Heo Jin, Yim Seung-hye [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

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