Ruling party lawmaker loses seat as top court confirms penalty
Published : 2013-02-28 20:44
Updated : 2013-02-28 20:44
The Supreme Court on Thursday confirmed a fine imposed on Rep. Kim Geun-tae for illegal campaigning ahead of last April’s general elections, stripping the ruling party lawmaker of his parliamentary seat.
The nation’s top court upheld a lower court’s decision to impose a fine of 7 million won ($6,500) on the 61-year-old Kim for violating the Public Official Election Act.
He was found guilty of sending out text messages to voters in his constituency after forming a private group that resembled an election campaign team in July 2011. He also offered food and free books to the voters.
Under the current act, a confirmed prison term or a fine of more than 1 million won handed down to a lawmaker results in the loss his or her parliamentary seat.
Rep. Won Hye-young of the main opposition Democratic Unity Party, however, maintained his parliamentary seat after the Supreme Court confirmed a not-guilty verdict in a separate ruling.
The 62-year-old Won was indicted on charges of launching an illegal campaign ahead of last April’s general elections by educating volunteer workers at his election camp before the official campaign season had begun, a violation of the election act.
A district court previously handed down a fine of 5 million on Won, but an appellate court overturned the ruling and acquitted the lawmaker in accordance with a law revision made last October.
Also, the Supreme Court confirmed a one-year prison term for Choi Wan-sik in a separate ruling Thursday, stripping the Hamyang governor of his seat.
The governor of Hamyang, some 330 kilometers southeast of Seoul, was found guilty of promising to offer bribes to volunteer workers ahead of a 2010 election. (Yonhap News)