Go to contents

Concerns for Legislative Vacancy at the National Assembly.

Concerns for Legislative Vacancy at the National Assembly.

Posted October. 15, 2003 22:44,   


Concerns are growing over the controversy about the suggestion of the National Referendum for the assessment of the public’s confidence in President Roh Moo-hyun that it might hinder deliberation on main bills at the regular session of the National Assembly. Some point out that a regulation of the National Assembly Law Clause Number 93-2 will be another ambush.

The new clause was created during the temporary session of the National Assembly in February this year and stipulates that “legislative bills that were presented in the committees or in the plenary meetings of the regular sessions of the National Assembly will be restricted to be minor budget bills of the next year.”

This clause aims at eliminating the unproductive habit of the government introducing many bills at the same time during the regular sessions of the National Assembly with the understanding that they will be passed arbitrarily without thorough deliberation. The clause intends for the general legislative bills to be deliberated at temporary sessions of the National Assembly held every other month and the budget bills at regular sessions according to the cause of “Budget Assembly.”

The government has introduced 324 bills from August to November aiming at passing them during the regular sessions of the National Assembly for three years from 2000 to 2003, which composes 73.3 percent of the entire 442 bills introduced. This caused random passing of scores of bills at every plenary meeting of the National Assembly such as annual events.

The problem is that this new clause that intends to eliminate this troublesome practice might actually bring about legislative vacancy related to the recent political situation. If the three opposition parties that compose absolute majority at the National Assembly refuse to deliberate on the government-suggested bills, various policies that the government has planned to carry out for the next year could wander off.

Inside the clause is the supportive regulation that general bills can be taken care of “under urgent and unavoidable situations where there is a decision by the plenary meeting.” However, it is hardly possible even to bring up the bills to a standing committee without the three parties’ cooperation. Until now, there is no movement from the three opposition parties related to the clause to renounce the deliberation on the government suggested bills.

A related official at the National Assembly Administration Office said, “The clause will be applied for the first time at this regular session, and we expect that the bills will be deliberated under the supportive regulation. Park, Gwan-yong, chairman of the National Assembly, has pondered over the adaptability of this clause, but he decided to let go of the government’s practice this time and cooperate.”

However, if President Roh continues to challenge the three opposition parties, this clause can work as a “mighty weapon” to hinder the bills from being passed. Meanwhile the government has set 33 bills including the three special laws – National Equitable Development Law, Special Decentralization Law, and New Administrational Capital Development Law - to be necessarily passed at the regular session of the National Assembly.

Jeong-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com