Seoul National Assembly Passes Bill for Itaewon Incident Investigation

Seoul: In a significant development, the National Assembly of Seoul, led by the opposition, approved a bill on Tuesday to establish a committee for reinvestigating the 2022 Itaewon crowd crush.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the bill received approval during a plenary meeting. Its primary aim is to support the victims and their families affected by the tragic event that occurred on October 29, 2022, in Seoul's Itaewon district, where 159 people lost their lives during Halloween festivities. Additionally, the bill seeks to identify those responsible for the incident through a special investigation committee.

The bill's endorsement was primarily supported by the Democratic Party (DP), which currently has a majority with 169 seats in the 298-member Assembly. The ruling People Power Party (PPP), however, boycotted the vote as a form of protest. Despite a mutual understanding of the need for such legislation, the parties could not agree on certain aspects of the bill.

The PPP has criticized the bill, suggesting it is aimed at creating negative public opinion against the government before the April general elections. In contrast, the DP has emphasized the necessity of the bill to enhance support for the victims.

As per the bill, which is set to take effect on April 10, the committee does not have the authority to seek a special counsel. This decision aligns with the arbitration proposal put forward by Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo.

The committee, as stipulated in the bill, will consist of 11 members. Three of these members will be recommended by the National Assembly Speaker, following consultations with the victims' family members and their representatives. The president will appoint the remaining eight members based on recommendations from both the ruling and opposition parties.

This special probe committee is scheduled to function for a period of one year, with an option to extend for an additional six months if necessary.

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