South Korean opposition party in turmoil as court to review arrest warrant

South Korean opposition party in turmoil as court to review arrest warrant

The main opposition party of Korea is in turmoil as a court prepares to review an arrest warrant for the leader of the Republic of Korea on Tuesday.

The head of the Democratic Party of Korea, Lee Jae-myung, is facing charges in relation to a real estate development project and the involvement in an unauthorized remittance to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The arrest warrant hearing comes just days after Lee ended a 24-day hunger strike.

In protest against the policies of President Yoon Suk-yeol's government, Lee began the hunger strike on August 31 but ended it on Saturday because his medical team warned that continuing to do so would seriously harm his health.

The motion for Lee to be arrested was passed by 149-136 votes in a plenary session of the National Assembly on Thursday. It was a surprise result as it indicates that Lee's party had a number of dissenting votes in the 298-member assembly.

The court review will be overseen by Chief Judge Yoo Chang-hoon, a judicial veteran with more than 30 years of experience.

The Korea Times said that Lee is likely to temporarily leave the hospital to attend the arrest warrant hearing in person.

The arrested warrant hearing will take place at the Seoul Central District Court, with the decision to be announced by the court on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning.

The worst-case scenario for the DP will be Lee's arrest, as it would further deepen the conflicts between party factions. Some analysts believe that if the arrest warrant was dismissed, Lee could have an opportunity to fight back.

Lee's lawyers have refuted the claims, and Lee described the arrest motion as 'illegal and unfair'.

At a CP meeting on Monday, Supreme Council Member Jung Chung-rae said he was speechless about the DP members who have voted to allow Lee to be arrested and that those members were fooled by the prosecution and the Yoon administration.

Jung added: 'I don't think it's possible, but it's possible,' said Jung.

The DP has received more than 400,000 petitions based on an unofficial tally, Jung said, calling for the dismissal of Lee's arrest warrant.

The party will face turbulence as it seeks to rebuild its leadership. Its members holding positions in the National Assembly resigned after the arrest motion was passed.

A by-election for the party's representative will be held on Tuesday with four candidates, Kim Minseok, Hong Ik-pyo, Woo Won-shik and Nam In-soon. Pro-Lee candidates are seen as pro-Lee.

The only female candidate, Nam, said in Facebook in a Facebook post that she decided to devote herself to protect the party and Lee against unfair suppression and called for DP members to stand united against the prosecution's dictatorship.