Opposition parties pass parliamentary probe report on Itaewon tragedy
SEOUL, Jan. 30 (Yonhap) -- Opposition parties on Monday passed a report on the special parliamentary committee's investigation into the Itaewon tragedy through the National Assembly despite the ruling party's objection.
The main opposition Democratic Party (DP), the minor progressive Justice Party and the Basic Income Party adopted the report at a plenary session, though the People Power Party (PPP) lawmakers boycotted the vote over claims that Interior Minister Lee Sang-min mishandled the aftermath of the Oct. 29 crowd crush that killed 159 people.
The PPP also raised objections against descriptions that the relocation of the presidential office to Yongsan, where Itaewon is located, and the authorities' focus on cracking down on drug crimes were part of the reasons there was lacking crowd control on the day of the accident.
The report, devised earlier this month after the parliamentary committee looked into the disaster for 55 days, says Lee did not implement necessary measures and prevent the disaster from happening, and also failed to install a central disaster countermeasures headquarters, though he was required to do so by law as the head of the safety ministry.
It also says Lee gave false testimony about the ministry having a list of bereaved families of the victims during parliamentary hearings and inflicted secondary damage to the victims and their families by evading responsibility.
The main opposition party has been pressing the presidential office to hold the minister to account, threatening to impeach Lee if the President Yoon Suk Yeol does not sack him.
"The report calls on the president to immediately dismiss Minister Lee Sang-min, hold those responsible to account, and deliver a sincere apology to the survivors and bereaved families of the victims," DP Rep. Woo Sang-ho, who headed the committee, said.
The DP floor leader said the party will push for Lee's impeachment unless Yoon decides to relieve him from his post by this week.
The ruling party lawmakers, however, said the report contains one-sided claims by the DP and there is no evidence to prove they are true.
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