Seoul, Nov 23 (EFE).- The South Korean ruling party, the conservative People’s Power Party, agreed Wednesday to participate in an investigation by the National Assembly into the negligence surrounding a crush that left more than 150 dead during Halloween celebrations in Seoul.
The party had initially been reluctant to take part in the investigation, saying it would accept a parliamentary commission only if the police investigation did not shed enough light on the negligence surrounding the tragedy.
But the formation’s parliamentary spokesman, Joo Ho-young, said Monday he was in favor of the idea and that he would seek the consensus of his group to participate in the investigation, something that was finally achieved Wednesday at a meeting in Seoul.
Joo announced the decision and said his formation is willing to be part of the parliamentary investigation once the state budgets for 2023 are approved in the National Assembly.
The main opposition bloc, the liberal Democratic Party, has sought to initiate the investigation from the beginning and a few days ago it presented the proposal to the Chamber, where it has a majority and where it is expected to be approved Thursday.
The accumulation of hundreds of people during the Halloween celebrations in a narrow alley in the Itaewon neighborhood caused a crush on the night of Oct. 29 that has left 158 dead, most of them women aged 20 to 30, and about 30 serious injuries, 10 of which remain hospitalized.
Both the Yongsan district council, to which Itaewon belongs, and its fire and police departments are under police investigation. It is suspected that they responded inadequately when the tragedy occurred and may have ignored calls to increase police presence in the neighborhood, where the number of revelers celebrating Halloween has increased yearly.
The central government said there was an absence of protocols in the country to avoid incidents during large events that do not have an organizer.
President Yoon Suk-yeol’s government said it is preparing a legislative reform proposal for the management of emergency systems and police response for December. EFE