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Parties file petition against lawmakers over 1980 democratic uprising

Politics 11:28 February 12, 2019

SEOUL, Feb. 12 (Yonhap) -- The ruling Democratic Party (DP) and three smaller parties asked a parliamentary panel Tuesday to punish three lawmakers from the main opposition party over their controversial remarks on a 1980 pro-democracy uprising.

The four parties filed a petition against the lawmakers of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) with the parliamentary special committee on ethics over their comments that allegedly disparaged the democracy movement in the southwestern city of Gwangju.

The LKP faces a political storm after the lawmakers have come under fire for holding a public forum last week, inviting a far-right figure who has long claimed that North Korean troops were involved in the pro-democracy uprising.

Two of them also made controversial remarks allegedly disparaging the democracy movement, with one claiming that a riot was turned into a pro-democracy movement by people with political purposes.

On May 18, 1980, the military conducted a bloody crackdown on demonstrators, including students, in Gwangju protesting against then-President Chun Doo-hwan, who took power in a military coup a year earlier.

The tank-led quelling of the uprising left hundreds of people killed and thousands wounded.

The four parties said they will seek to strip the three lawmakers of their parliamentary seats, taking issue with their distortion of historic facts about the uprising.

The DP formed a joint front with the minor conservative Bareunmirae Party, the minor liberal Party for Democracy and Peace and the leftist Justice Party.

Baffled at the escalating political crisis, the LKP leadership has apologized to the public over the controversy.

But the conservative party stopped short of saying whether the party would punish them. The four parties urged the LKP to expel the lawmakers.

President Moon Jae-in on Monday rejected two LKP nominees as members of a new fact-finding team designed to verify suspicions that the then-military government and its conservative predecessors may have covered up the truth about the bloody crackdown on the 1980 movement.

The LKP earlier named three nominees to the nine-member panel under a special law on the fact-finding mission.

Parties file petition against lawmakers over 1980 democratic uprising - 1

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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