(ATTN: MODIFIES headline, lead; UPDATES with details; TRIMS)
SEOUL, Nov. 28 (Yonhap) -- The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) on Monday decided to present a motion calling for the dismissal of Interior Minister Lee Sang-min for the bungled emergency response to the deadly crowd crush in Seoul last month.
The DP has called for President Yoon Suk-yeol to sack Lee to hold him responsible for the failed government response to the tragedy that killed 158 people in Seoul's Itaewon neighborhood, saying the National Assembly will take action on its own if Yoon defies the demand.
In a high-level party strategy meeting, the DP decided to put forward the motion to the National Assembly on Wednesday.
On Friday, DP floor leader Park Hong-keun gave Yoon until Monday to sack Lee, saying the National Assembly will take action on its own if Yoon defies the demand. The remark was seen as a threat to impeach or pass a no-confidence motion against Lee.
"Choose now between the people and Interior and Safety Minister Lee Sang-min," Park said in a Supreme Council meeting, noting the deadline has arrived. "Stop testing the people's patience and immediately sack Minister Lee,"
The ruling People Power Party has denounced the DP's demand as unreasonable, saying a parliamentary investigation the rival parties plan to conduct is aimed at determining who is responsible for the tragedy.
PPP lawmakers taking part in a special committee overseeing the parliamentary probe also denounced the demand, saying they will consider quitting the committee should the DP push ahead with Lee's dismissal.
A no-confidence motion requires the consent of one-third of lawmakers to be put to a vote and the approval of one-half of lawmakers to be passed. It is, however, legally non-binding.
The DP holds a majority in the National Assembly with 169 of 299 seats.
In September, Yoon rejected a no-confidence motion that the DP put forth against the foreign minister, holding him responsible for what it claimed was a disastrous overseas trip by the president.
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