S.Korean parliament votes to impeach interior minister over crowd crush

SEOUL, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's parliament on Wednesday voted to impeach Lee Sang-min, minister of the interior and safety, to hold him responsible for the deadly crowd crush that occurred in late October last year at the Itaewon district of Seoul during Halloween celebrations.

Rescuers work at the site of a stampede accident in Itaewon, a district of Seoul, South Korea, Oct. 30, 2022. (File photo: Xinhua)

The National Assembly, dominated by the main liberal opposition Democratic Party, voted 179 to 109 in favor of impeaching Lee. Five other votes were counted invalid.

Lee will be suspended from duty until the constitutional court rules in favor of or against the impeachment motion, proposed by the Democratic Party and two minor liberal parties.

It marked the country's first impeachment of a cabinet member in history of the unicameral parliament.

Liberal lawmakers criticized the conservative government for its bungled response to the crowd crush that claimed 159 lives.

After wrapping up a 74-day probe into the "man-made disaster" last month, the special police investigation team referred 23 government officials to the prosecution on professional negligence and other charges.

The team, however, decided not to hold any officials from the interior ministry, the Seoul city government and the national police agency criminally liable for the disaster.