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Each lawmaker spends over 200 million won yearly

Posted August. 28, 2000 15:43,   


One hundred and twenty million won for a lawmaker to initiate a bill and to have it pass through the National Assembly; 8.72 million won for a lawmaker to raise question with a pending issue during the parliamentary inspection of state affairs; 6.9 billion won for the budget settlement committee to modify the government-proposed budget bill.

These parliamentary expenses are detailed in a report entitled "Raising the Productivity of the National Assembly`` based on the result of an evaluation of the Assembly`s productivity conducted jointly by the Dong-a Ilbo and the Korea Legislation Studies Institute since the end of last year. The report contains a verified analysis of the high expense-low efficiency structure of Korean politics.

This is the first attempt to gauge the productivity of parliamentary activities by using the economic theories and frames.

Prof. Lim Dong-Wook of Chung Ju National University and Prof. Hahm Sung-Deuk of Korea University estimated the activities of the 13th-15th National Assembly by comparing the expenses for lawmakers and for their products.

According to the study, the annual expenses invested for a lawmaker, including pay and allowance, and personal expenses for the lawmaker`s assistants, amounted to 158,505,660 won in 1990. They increased to 218,245,500 won in 1999.

The Assembly with the highest productivity was the 13th, which featured a system of a small ruling party and a big opposition party, and the 15th after 1998 when the ruling coalition was inaugurated.

The expense for a lawmaker-initiated bill to become a law was 164,760,000 won in the 13th Assembly, 371,030,000 won in the 14th and 121,650,000 won in the 15th, showing the 14th Assembly during the Kim Young-Sam government had the lowest productivity.

Prof. Lim said that the productivity of the parliamentary deliberation on budget and settlement and law bills during 1990-1997 period when there was a big ruling camp was comparatively low.

¡°In this case the ruling camp weakened the opposition force through artificial political realignment, and the productive competition was eventually eliminated, thus lowering the parliamentary efficiency,¡± Lim said.