DP leader raps interior minister over ‘unpardonable slur’ over Itaewon tragedy

SEOUL– Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung slammed Interior Minister Lee Sang-min on Monday over what he called an “unpardonable slur” the minister made over his responsibility for the Itaewon crowd crush, further increasing pressure on him to resign.

The minister came under fire after he said in a recent media interview that he wanted to “throw his resignation in a fancy manner” amid mounting pressure to resign as minister in charge of public safety, but resigning is not an attitude a responsible person can take.

“The minister’s ‘fancy’ remark goes beyond a level embarrassing to hear. It is an unpardonable slur,” Rep. Lee of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) told the party’s Supreme Council meeting. “It is truly astonishing he can make such an expression in front of the site where so many people lost their lives.”

Lee said it should be a matter of course to fire the minister.

Lee also called for a special prosecutor investigation into the crowd crush, saying the ongoing police investigation is insufficient to probe the government’s alleged mishandling of the incident.

Minister Lee reaffirmed his stance on Monday.

“Serving my best in my current role is fulfilling my responsibilities in the most proper way,” he told lawmakers in a parliamentary budget committee meeting.

“I will pour in all my might and soul to make a country where the people can feel safe and comfortably enjoy their everyday lives.”

In addition to demanding the sacking of relevant top officials like the interior minister and the police agency chief, the opposition has submitted a request for a parliamentary probe with an aim to pass it in a plenary meeting scheduled for Nov. 24.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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