The National Assembly on Thursday approved a motion allowing prosecutors to arrest main opposition Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung for a warrant hearing for his pretrial detention.
The motion passed with 149 votes in favor, 136 against and six abstentions, as well as four invalid ballots.
The opposition leader has been under investigation on suspicion of corruption related to land development scandals and third-party bribery.
Lee, who was hospitalized earlier this week due to his prolonged hunger strike, was absent from the floor and skipped his defense address.
Still, DP Rep. Park Joo-min gave a speech in Lee's defense. Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon, on the other hand, delivered an address in support of the arrest bill.
Lee wrote a post on his Facebook page the previous day calling the motion “illegal and unjust” as he warned that its passage will give way to the prosecution’s “political investigation.”
Meanwhile, the National Assembly also passed a motion recommending Prime Minister Han Duck-soo’s dismissal on claims of incompetence in his role as the chief of the Cabinet, a first such passage in constitutional history.
The prosecution's probe concerns accusations from Lee's time as mayor of Seongnam alleging that he granted various privileges to private developers and causing losses to the city government by changing zoning regulations for the former site of the Korean Food Research Institute in Baekhyeon-dong between 2014 and 2015.
The state agency is also looking into suspicions of involvement in the remittance of some eight million U.S. dollars to North Korea by the chair of Ssanbangwool Group between January 2019 and January 2020 when Lee was Gyeonggi Province governor that was purportedly transferred to facilitate his prospective trip to the regime.