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Ruling party set to decide on extra penalty for former leader

Former People Power Party (PPP) Chairman Lee Jun-seok speaks to the press as he leaves the Seoul Southern District Court after attending a questioning, in this file photo taken last Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Former People Power Party (PPP) Chairman Lee Jun-seok speaks to the press as he leaves the Seoul Southern District Court after attending a questioning, in this file photo taken last Wednesday. (Yonhap)

The ruling People Power Party (PPP) was set to hold an ethics committee meeting Thursday to decide on an additional penalty for former Chairman Lee Jun-seok over his harsh criticism of President Yoon Suk-yeol and the party.

Lee has openly gone up against President Yoon and his core associates, after the PPP suspended his party membership in July over allegations of sexual bribery and an attempted cover-up, and launched an emergency leadership committee that automatically removed him from office.

He has since filed a string of injunctions against the party's new leadership and stepped up criticism of Yoon and party leaders, even likening Yoon to "shingunbu," a term that refers to military officers led by former President Chun Doo-hwan, who came to power through a coup and suppressed democracy movements.

The ethics committee launched a second round of a disciplinary procedure against Lee last month, saying he used "insulting, reprehensible" expressions against party members and lawmakers "without objective grounds," and undermined unity and the party's prestige.

Observers project the committee will hand down the heaviest level of penalty, such as a three-year membership suspension or expulsion at worst.

But Lee is unlikely to comply. He has claimed that the cause of the additional disciplinary procedure is groundless and the process is thus invalid.

Separately, the Seoul Southern District Court may deliver a ruling on Thursday over an injunction Lee filed against the PPP's emergency leadership committee led by Chung Jin-suk, which would further complicate the disciplinary procedure. (Yonhap)

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