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Revision of party law under fire

Posted August. 08, 2000 19:31,   


The ruling and opposition parties have come under fire for their joint attempt to again amend the revised Political Party Law to stipulate that the parties` constituency chapters should be allowed to employ salaried staff members.

The bipartisan move provoked criticism after ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) floor leader Chung Kyun-Hwan and his opposition Grand National Party (GNP) counterpart, Chung Chang-Hwa, agreed to push ahead with the re-amendment plan on August 7, as soon as the inter-party special political committee is formed and addresses the revision bill.

Article 30-2 provides for the employment of 150 or less salaried staff members at each political party`s headquarters, and for seven at the party mayoral and provincial chapters. But it prevents the recruitment of any staff at constituency offices. The measure was designed to comply with the political reform program that abolishes the lowest-level party chapters.

The revision is set to take effect on August 17 after a six-month grace period. However, faced with a growing outcry from local chapters, the parties have begun to reverse their stance.

The bipartisan agreement has been attacked by citizens and civic groups, who are contending that the lawmakers are acting in their own interests even before the revision bill is enforced. Some political quarters have also raised objections, saying that the parties` move cannot be justified while operations at the National Assembly remain paralyzed.