Process begins to seek parliamentary consent to arrest lawmakers in DP election scandal
SEOUL, May 25 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul court asked the government Thursday to win parliamentary consent to the potential arrests of two lawmakers, after prosecutors sought arrest warrants for them over a cash-for-vote campaign scandal involving the 2021 chairman election of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP).
The two -- Reps. Youn Kwan-suk and Lee Sung-man -- can be arrested only if the National Assembly consents to it because by law, lawmakers are immune from arrest while the parliament is in session, a measure designed to shield lawmakers from political persecution.
Prosecutors sought warrants to arrest the two Wednesday for their alleged involvement in a campaign to distribute "cash envelopes" totaling 94 million won (US$71,379) to DP members to help then candidate Song Yong-gil to win party chairmanship ahead of the party's national convention in May 2021.
The two are now independents as they quit the DP after the allegations surfaced.
On Thursday, the Seoul Central District Court sent a request for parliamentary consent to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office, according to court officials.
The request is supposed to go through the Supreme Prosecutors Office and the justice ministry to President Yoon Suk Yeol for signing before the justice ministry submits it to the National Assembly for approval.
Once it is sent to the National Assembly, the speaker is supposed to report it during the first plenary meeting to be held hereafter and put it to a vote within the following 72 hours but after the elapse of 24 hours.
Given the current parliamentary schedule, the consent request is likely to be reported to the plenary parliamentary session scheduled for Tuesday and put to a vote in the first plenary session next month.
The request requires a majority vote from a session attended by a majority of the total lawmakers to be approved.
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