Soon after the revision bill of the Public Official Election Act, which is designated as a fast-track bill, was brought in for a regular session of the National Assembly on Friday, the Liberty Korea Party (LKP) announced that it will launch a filibuster. A “4+1” consultative body was created with the ruling major party and ruling minor parties versus the LKP. It was the first time that negotiations on the election act, which sets rules for conducting elections, took place without the leading opposition party. As the LKP is planning to host a large outdoor rally on Saturday, the partisan tensions will worsen going forward.
The revised election bill, which was automatically brought in for a regular session on Friday, was the original bill created in April by the “4+1” consultative body. The bill stipulates 254 seats for constituencies and 75 seats for proportional representatives with the vote linkage rate of 50 percent. As it became unable to increase the number of seats for lawmakers due to the public’s opposition, however, an amendment was created to set 250 seats for constituencies and 50 seats for proportional representatives in consideration of lawmakers’ opposition to the reduced constituency seats. However, the number of seats for proportional representatives, which are distributed in line with the percentage of the vote won by each party, is in the last-minute negotiations within the “4+1” consultative body. Some point to an issue, in which the principle of distributing seats according to the percentage of the vote won has been practically abandoned and instead seats are shared based on the interests of the ruling party and opposition minor parties.
The negotiations on the election act started off abnormally from the beginning. Negotiations at the National Assembly have been traditionally carried out centered around a negotiation body with 20 or more seats. However, with the recent case, the arbitrary “4+1” consultative body, which has no legal grounds, held closed-door negotiations. The leading opposition party and the Bareunmirae Party’s lawmakers supporting Yoo Seung-min have been completely excluded from negotiations. If such an arrogant practice takes root, major legislation can be repeatedly manipulated as fast-track bills by parties with shared interests excluding certain parties.
The “4+1” system is planning to push forward with a bill for investigative powers reform immediately after the election bill is processed. The LKP and the Bareunmirae Party’s lawmakers supporting Yoo Seung-min combined are not enough to change the vote result. The “4+1” system is forcefully nullifying the politics of negotiations with a bigger number on its side. The fact that the ruling party, whose political asses is democratization, is conducting such anti-democratic politics is self-contradiction and paradox that should not be demonstrated. Such anti-democratic behavior will cause a backlash. Negotiations should not be taken off the table until the very last minute.