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South Korea Partisan Rift Widens With Vote to Impeach Minister

  • Progressive bloc uses parliamentary majority to pass measure
  • Political friction intensifies as economy facing pressure
Lee Sang-min, left, and Yoon Suk Yeol.

Lee Sang-min, left, and Yoon Suk Yeol.

Photographer: Kim Jae-Hwan/SOPA Images/Getty Images

South Korea’s progressive opposition bloc used its majority in parliament to approve an unprecedented impeachment measure against the interior minister, heating up partisan tensions as worries mount about the country falling into recession.

The Democratic Party and small groups passed the measure Wednesday to impeach Lee Sang-min, making him the first cabinet minister in the country’s history to be impeached by parliament. They said he should be removed from office over what they saw as a failed response to a deadly crowd crush incident in October. President Yoon Suk Yeol’s conservative People Power Party has called the motion unlawful and defended its response to the incident.