South Korean Congress Approves Detention Consent for Lee Jae-myung; Turmoil in Political Situation
September 23, Seoul – In a recent development, the South Korean Congress has voted to approve the detention consent of Lee Jae-myung, the leader of the largest opposition Democratic Party. The court will subsequently review the necessity of Lee Jae-myung’s arrest, causing concerns about the political situation in the country.
On September 18, the Anti-Corruption Investigation Department of the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office filed a petition with the court against Lee Jae-myung on charges of violating several acts, including dereliction of duty, accepting bribes, and incitement to commit perjury. Despite Lee Jae-myung’s repeated statements that he would cooperate with the prosecutors’ investigations, the prosecutors insisted on his arrest, leading to allegations of political manipulation.
The government’s tough stance was evident when Justice Minister Han Dongxun stated that the judicial system should not stop functioning merely because the defendant is on a hunger strike. South Korean President Yoon Seok-yue, who was visiting the United States, approved the detention consent request for Lee Jae-myung, further indicating that there is no room for concession on the “necessity review for arrest.”
According to South Korea’s laws, the detention consent of a current member of Congress must be approved by a plenary session of the National Assembly before the court can conduct a necessary review and formally implement the arrest. On September 21, the South Korean Congress voted on this case in a secret manner. The detention consent bill was passed with 149 votes in favor, 136 votes against, 6 abstentions, and 4 invalid votes.
The passing of the detention consent bill immediately prompted a large rally of Lee Jae-myung’s supporters in front of the National Assembly, with some attempting to break in. The police responded by closing exits and implementing traffic control to prevent any emergencies.
Following the vote, Lee Jae-myung issued a position statement through the Democratic Party of Korea, calling on the entire party to unite and resist the actions of the prosecutorial agency. He emphasized the need to protect people’s livelihoods and democracy.
The political tensions between South Korea’s government and opposition are further escalating with this development. The case against Lee Jae-myung will now enter the court’s review process, where the necessity of arrest will be evaluated. If the arrest warrant is dismissed, Lee Jae-myung and his Democratic Party can potentially regain support, and the motivation for the prosecutorial office’s investigation will decrease. On the other hand, if the warrant is upheld, it will be challenging for Lee Jae-myung to restore his leadership capabilities.
As of now, Lee Jae-myung’s fate will be determined in the coming weeks, with the court’s decision on his detention expected to be announced soon.