[top10]In a landmark ruling, the UPP is dissolved

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[top10]In a landmark ruling, the UPP is dissolved

In a landmark ruling, Korea’s Constitutional Court on Dec. 19 ordered the dissolution of the leftist minority Unified Progressive Party (UPP) for its pro-North Korea doctrine, which subsequently removed its five lawmakers from the National Assembly.

The request by the Park Geun-hye administration on Nov. 5, 2013, to dissolve the party was an unprecedented step in national politics, and the verdict marked the first time in the country’s constitutional history that the judiciary had ordered a political party to disband. The decision took more than a year of deliberation and was ultimately supported by eight out of nine judges on the bench.

In the end, the court ruled that the UPP’s ideology was supportive of the North Korean style of socialism, with its core purpose going against the basic order of democracy. It also noted the case against senior UPP Rep. Lee Seok-ki, who was charged for treason, as one of the key reasons for its decision to outlaw the party. Prosecutors indicted Lee last year on charges that he conspired to overthrow the government in the event of war with North Korea. His case is still pending in the Supreme Court.

But while UPP members and some progressive activists protested the ruling, President Park and her ruling Saenuri Party hailed the decision as a victory for Korea’s liberal democracy.

By-elections will take place in April in three constituencies. Two proportional seats will be left unfilled.

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