Government approves motion to disband Unified Progressive Party
This is the first time the government has moved to disband an existing political party.
Cabinet ministers approved a motion to disband the Unified Progressive Party on Tuesday morning, accusing it of promoting North Korean ideology and attempting to overthrow the Korean government.
"The ministry found that the Unified Progressive Party's doctrine, its political goals and main activities violate the constitutional democratic order."
The justice ministry has been reviewing the motion for two months, after lawmaker Lee Seok-ki and other three members from the minor leftist opposition party were arrested on charges of plotting to topple the government and blow up major facilities, such as communications centers and oil storage tanks,. in the event of a war with North Korea.
The plan was devised in conjunction with members of a secret organization called the Revolutionary Organization.
With the disbandment motion passing the Cabinet, the justice ministry took the case to the Constitutional Court, at around noon on Tuesday.
The Court has the final say about whether political parties in Korea can be disbanded.
It will decide whether the party's political goals and activities are in line with the democratic order as laid out in the Constitution.
To pass, the motion must win the approval of six of the Court's nine judges.
If the motion goes through, the party's assets will be transferred to the government and the party will be banned from launching a new party in its place.
The Unified Progressive Party has denounced the motion's passage as a revival of the nation's dark dictatorial past.
"This is not only an act of persecution against our party organization. This also constitutes an act of destruction against democracy."
While the ruling Saenuri Party welcomed the move, characterizing it as an unavoidable decision necessary to protect the national order, the main opposition Democratic Party said,.. it is concerned that the government motion was processed too hastily, without a thorough review of public opinion.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News.
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