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Opposition party launches task force to oppose police bureau plan

Politics 14:12 July 27, 2022

By Kim Na-young

SEOUL, July 27 (Yonhap) -- The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) vowed Wednesday to derail the planned establishment of an interior ministry bureau overseeing police, with some lawmakers suggesting impeaching Interior Minister Lee Sang-min.

The Cabinet approved the establishment of a police bureau under the ministry Tuesday despite criticism that it would put the law enforcement agency under political influence and could lead to politically biased investigations.

But the government says it will never intervene in investigations and argues that such a government organ is necessary to rein in the massive police power that is set to grow further as they are set to take on more investigative roles from the prosecution.

"I am so dumbfounded that a prosecutor-turned-president and the interior minister are trying to seize control of police with an enforcement ordinance which violates the law in South Korea, a constitutional state," DP's interim leader Woo Sang-ho said.

DP's floor leader Park Hong-geun called on President Yoon Suk-yeol to look back on the remarks he had made about the need for investigative bodies to have independence when he was prosecutor-general.

"President Yoon, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and Interior Minister Lee Sang-min cannot be this ruthless if they have the slightest intention to uphold people's will," Park said, adding the party will take all possible measures to prevent the establishment of the bureau.

Some DP lawmakers even hinted at seeking the impeachment or dismissal of the interior minister.

"If Lee keeps pushing ahead with the plan in violation of the law, we can consider (impeachment) for sure," Rep. Kim Kyo-heung said in a radio interview with MBC.

DP Rep. Seo Young-kyo also said impeachment is a basic right and a legal option given to the National Assembly to respond to the government's disregard for the parliament.

Rep. Woo Sang-ho (C), the main opposition Democratic Party's interim leader, speaks in a party meeting held at the National Assembly in western Seoul on July 27, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

nyway@yna.co.kr
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