Political clash looms as Moon poised to appoint disputed Constitutional Court justice nominee

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Political clash looms as Moon poised to appoint disputed Constitutional Court justice nominee

Lawmakers of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party enter the Supreme Prosecutors Office in Seoul, Monday, to file complaints against the disputed Constitutional Court Justice nominee Lee Mi-sun and her husband for allegedly making lucrative stock transactions using insider information. From left are Reps. Song Eon-seog, Lee Man-hee, Choi Gyo-il and Lee Yang-soo. / Yonhap

By Park Ji-won

Liberal and conservative parties are on a collision course over President Moon Jae-in's possible appointment of disputed nominee Lee Mi-sun as a Constitutional Court judge.

The liberal President is expected to appoint Lee despite strong protest from conservative parties and negative public sentiment against her before leaving for a trip to three Central Asian countries, Tuesday.

Moon will ask the National Assembly to adopt a report on the outcome of Lee's confirmation hearing held last week which is a de facto procedural step for appointing the nominee. The deadline of the adoption was Monday. Assembly approval is not mandatory for the appointment of presidential nominees.

Moon embarks on an eight-day trip today to three Central Asian countries ― Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan ― to boost economic ties and receive support for his moves to create peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Lee came under fire over her and her husband's massive stock trading last week during a National Assembly hearing. They reportedly traded stocks 5,500 times. She insisted the stock transactions were made by her husband, denying any involvement.

Responding to this, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and minor opposition Bareunmirae Party (BMP) have refused to adopt the reports on Lee's confirmation hearing citing her ethical lapses and the allegations that the couple violated several laws regarding stock transactions. They asked her to step down as a nominee.

The LKP filed complaints with the Supreme Prosecutors Office on Monday against her and her husband for possible violations of laws such as the financial investment services and capital markets act and anti-corruption act. The BMP also asked the Financial Services Commission to investigate the couple for using insider information to buy stocks.

The opposition parties have continued to step up political attacks against Cheong Wa Dae for lax screening of nominees for high-ranking posts, calling for the dismissal of senior civil affairs secretary Cho Kuk who is in charge of the reshuffle.

On Friday, Lee sold her stocks ― worth about 660 million won ($587,246) ― and pledged to sell her husband's stocks if she gets the post.

A Realmeter survey on 504 adults showed Monday that 54.6 percent said Lee is not qualified to be a Constitutional Court justice while 28.8 percent said she is qualified.

Moon pushed ahead last week with the appointment of Park Young-sun for SMEs and startups minister and Kim Yeon-chul for unification minister despite strong objections from the opposition parties.

Meanwhile, the progressive Justice Party and some lawmakers of the Party for Democracy and Peace changed their stance to approve her nomination.


Lawmakers of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party enter the Supreme Prosecutors Office in Seoul, Monday, to file complaints against the disputed Constitutional Court Justice nominee Lee Mi-sun and her husband for allegedly making lucrative stock transactions using insider information. From left are Reps. Song Eon-seog, Lee Man-hee, Choi Gyo-il and Lee Yang-soo. / Yonhap

By Park Ji-won

Liberal and conservative parties are on a collision course over President Moon Jae-in's possible appointment of disputed nominee Lee Mi-sun as a Constitutional Court judge.

The liberal President is expected to appoint Lee despite strong protest from conservative parties and negative public sentiment against her before leaving for a trip to three Central Asian countries, Tuesday.

Moon will ask the National Assembly to adopt a report on the outcome of Lee's confirmation hearing held last week which is a de facto procedural step for appointing the nominee. The deadline of the adoption was Monday. Assembly approval is not mandatory for the appointment of presidential nominees.

Moon embarks on an eight-day trip today to three Central Asian countries ― Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan ― to boost economic ties and receive support for his moves to create peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Lee came under fire over her and her husband's massive stock trading last week during a National Assembly hearing. They reportedly traded stocks 5,500 times. She insisted the stock transactions were made by her husband, denying any involvement.

Responding to this, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and minor opposition Bareunmirae Party (BMP) have refused to adopt the reports on Lee's confirmation hearing citing her ethical lapses and the allegations that the couple violated several laws regarding stock transactions. They asked her to step down as a nominee.

The LKP filed complaints with the Supreme Prosecutors Office on Monday against her and her husband for possible violations of laws such as the financial investment services and capital markets act and anti-corruption act. The BMP also asked the Financial Services Commission to investigate the couple for using insider information to buy stocks.

The opposition parties have continued to step up political attacks against Cheong Wa Dae for lax screening of nominees for high-ranking posts, calling for the dismissal of senior civil affairs secretary Cho Kuk who is in charge of the reshuffle.

On Friday, Lee sold her stocks ― worth about 660 million won ($587,246) ― and pledged to sell her husband's stocks if she gets the post.

A Realmeter survey on 504 adults showed Monday that 54.6 percent said Lee is not qualified to be a Constitutional Court justice while 28.8 percent said she is qualified.

Moon pushed ahead last week with the appointment of Park Young-sun for SMEs and startups minister and Kim Yeon-chul for unification minister despite strong objections from the opposition parties.

Meanwhile, the progressive Justice Party and some lawmakers of the Party for Democracy and Peace changed their stance to approve her nomination.


Park Ji-won jwpark@koreatimes.co.kr


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