|Lee Un-ju, an independent lawmaker, shaves her head at the National Assembly, Tuesday, in a symbolic protest calling for the withdrawal of the appointment of Cho Kuk as justice minister. Yonhap|
By Park Ji-won
The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) is planning to team up with minor opposition parties to submit a request for a special prosecutor and the launch of a parliamentary audit over the alleged misconduct of Justice Minister Cho Kuk, political sources said Tuesday.
"The LKP and minor opposition Bareunmirae Party (BMP) are considering launching a parliamentary probe and appointing a special counsel to investigate the various allegations involving Cho and his family," said an LKP member.
A Seoul National University law professor Cho Kuk started work as the justice minister after being appointed by President Moon Jae-in, Monday, despite doubts over his qualifications post given the various criminal allegations made against his wife. The President said publicly that the appointment was aimed at reforming the prosecution, but the opposition parties expressed disagreement, calling for Moon to rescind the appointment.
LKP Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn asked BMP Chairman Sohn Hak-kyu to form an alliance to push for the dismissal of Cho. Sohn reportedly said he will discuss it with his party members, another source added without elaborating.
The ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) criticized the opposition parties' moves to launch an investigation of the justice minister calling it a "political attack."
"It's less than one day since the appointment. It is too early to evaluate Cho and file a dismissal motion," DPK floor leader Lee In-young said during a party meeting. "The maneuver is a political attack as they are venting their anger."
The justice minister and his wife are suspected of abusing their power to help their daughter get the credentials necessary to ensure admission to a prestigious university. The prosecution has been expanding its probe into the allegations surrounding Cho, raiding offices and houses of his family members.
The political fight will continue, observers said, adding the appointment would delay the normalization of parliamentary activities including sessions at the upcoming audit of ministries and government agencies.
The LKP and the BMP began a street protest in an attempt to force the minister to resign. The LKP held a demonstration in Seoul, while the BMP held a party meeting in front of Cheong Wa Dae.
Insiders said the opposition parties are launching the protests against the Moon Jae-in administration to gain leverage ahead of the general election next year. Rep. Lee Un-ju, a former member of the BMP, had her head shaved Monday as a symbolic protest calling for the dismissal of Cho.