S. Korea court orders dissolution of leftist party

December 18, 2014

Chief Justice Park Han-chul announces the verdict. (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — South Korea’s Constitutional Court on Friday ordered the dissolution of a pro-North Korean opposition party, banning a political party for the first time since the country adopted its first constitution in 1948.

In a 8-1 decision, the court accepted the government’s petition to dissolve the Unified Progressive Party (UPP), which holds five seats in the 300-member parliament, and ban the establishment of an equivalent party.

Several UPP members, including Rep. Lee Seok-ki, were convicted of plotting to overthrow the government in the event of a war with the communist North.

They were found guilty of conspiring with members of a clandestine organization, called the Revolutionary Organization, to topple the South’s government if a war broke out with North Korea.

Under the country’s constitution, the government can ask the Constitutional Court to review the dissolution of a political party that violates the “democratic basic order.”

The ruling came more than a year after the justice ministry filed the petition with the court, citing the arrest of some UPP members on rebellion conspiracy charges.