After losing vote, LKP’s lawmakers vow to quit

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After losing vote, LKP’s lawmakers vow to quit

Lawmakers from the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) threatened to resign en masse following the passage of a law creating a new investigation agency on Monday.

At a plenary session Monday evening, the ruling Democratic Party (DP) and lawmakers from opposition parties including the Bareunmirae Party and Justice Party rammed through a bill creating the agency. The LKP lawmakers left the main hall to boycott the vote.

After its passage, the LKP held a general assembly of lawmakers for two hours. Rep. Shim Jae-cheol, the LKP floor leader, told reporters Monday night that all 108 lawmakers of the party decided to give up their seats.

“All our lawmakers are enraged because it was the third time that the DP unlawfully rammed through a bill, following the illegal passages of the budget bill and the election law revision bill,” said Shim. “We decided to step down en masse to demonstrate our rage.”

It remains to be seen if the LKP lawmakers’ resignations would be accepted. Under the National Assembly Act, a lawmaker’s resignation requires an approval of a majority vote of the incumbent members of the legislature. If the legislature is not in session, it requires the National Assembly speaker’s approval.

“Some lawmakers already tendered their resignations,” Shim said. “It is extremely regretful that the situation has forced us to do this.”

At a party meeting Tuesday morning, Shim maintained that all LKP lawmakers will step down. “With this determination, we will continue to fight.”

While Shim said the lawmakers delegated authority to the party leadership to decide their course of actions, he did not make clear when he will formally submit the lawmakers’ resignations.

Even if all 108 LKP lawmakers actually resign, law experts offer different opinions on the fate of the National Assembly.

“The number of members of the National Assembly shall be determined by act, but the number shall not be less than 200,” Article 41 of the constitution said.

If the LKP lawmakers abandon their seats, the current legislature will be left with only 187 members. Some say that the Assembly will be dissolved based on the constitution.

Others, however, said the constitution does not have any clause governing dissolving of the legislature.

In the past, the constitution gave the president the power to dismiss the legislature, but that power was removed with a constitutional amendment in 1987.

If the National Assembly is not dissolved after the LKP lawmakers’ resignations, the DP will have a big enough majority to amend the constitution.

As of now, the DP has 129 lawmakers, more than two thirds of the 187 lawmakers who would remain.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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