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(LEAD) Constitutional Court chief nominee fails to win parliamentary confirmation

2017/09/11 15:41

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(ATTN: CHANGES lead; UPDATES throughout)

SEOUL, Sept. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's parliament failed to approve the controversial Constitutional Court chief nominee in a long-delayed vote Monday, dealing a dispiriting blow to President Moon Jae-in and prolonging the leadership void at the top of the judiciary.

Among 293 lawmakers present, 145 voted for Kim Yi-su, with another 145 against him. One abstained and two votes were listed as invalid. Kim's approval required the backing of a majority of lawmakers participating in the vote.

It is the first time a court chief designate has failed to be approved by the legislature, observers said.

The parliamentary vote on him had already been put off for three months, due largely to controversies over his 1980 ruling against a pro-democracy activist and his views on the 2014 disbandment of a far-left party with members accused of pro-North Korean activities.

Kim is the latest in a series of Moon's top nominees who have failed to be appointed amid disputes over their qualifications. Such disputes have raised questions over the presidential office's personnel vetting process.

The court's nine-member bench has remained rudderless since January when former Court Chief Park Han-chul retired.

This photo, taken June 8, 2017, shows Constitutional Court chief nominee Kim Yi-su attending a parliamentary confirmation hearing at the National Assembly in Seoul. (Yonhap) This photo, taken June 8, 2017, shows Constitutional Court chief nominee Kim Yi-su attending a parliamentary confirmation hearing at the National Assembly in Seoul. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr

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