Minor party will not compete in mayoral by-elections amid sexual harassment scandal

SEOUL-- The minor progressive Justice Party decided Wednesday not to field candidates in the April mayoral by-elections in the wake of a sexual abuse scandal that led to the expulsion of its leader.

Kim Jong-cheol resigned as head of the party on Jan. 25 after admitting to sexually harassing a female lawmaker of the same party. He was expelled from the party Thursday.

At a meeting of its national committee, the party decided not to nominate candidates in the by-elections as a way of "abiding by the principle of responsible politics and fulfilling its promise to be reborn," Jeong Ho-jin, a party spokesperson, told reporters.

"We request this decision be understood as a show of our determination to take unlimited responsibility for the incident and carry out a full-fledged self-reform," she said after the meeting of the top decision-making body.

Mayoral by-elections will be held in Seoul and Busan on April 7. The posts have remained vacant since then Busan Mayor Oh Keo-don resigned in April and Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon killed himself in July, both amid accusations of sexual harassment and assault.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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