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The "In" Party out to Push Through Another Legislation

Posted December. 01, 2004 22:50,   


The Legislation and Judiciary Committee of the National Assembly (LJC) held a plenary meeting on December 1, as the revision proposal of the Fair Trade Act, which includes maintaining the restriction on the total amount of shareholding of other companies for large corporations, was passed on approval of the Uri Party alone and handed over to the National Assembly. The National Assembly will hold its session on December 2 to put the revision proposal to a vote.

The committee passed the proposal on December 1, while almost all Grand National Party (GNP) members were absent except assemblymen Choi Yun-hee (GNP) and Roh Hoi-chan of the Democratic Labor Party, with eight votes of approval from the Uri Party, one vote of opposition from Mr. Choi, and one vote of abstention from Mr. Roh.

The revision proposal includes clauses such as restricting the shareholding of other companies for big companies with more than five trillion won in assets; gradually bringing down the ceiling for voting rights of conglomerates in their affiliate finance and insurance companies (including shares held by special related parties) from the current 30 percent to 15 percent by 2008; re-implementing the time limit of three years for financial transaction information requests (request to trace bank account records) of the Fair Trade Commission; and others.

The Grand National Party insisted on "asking for objective opinions from academic circles such as the Korean Constitutional Law Association to check the revision proposal against unconstitutionality" before the voting on the revision began at the meeting, but the Uri Party refused the proposal because "the issue had been through enough discussion."

Chairman Choi ignored the GNP members` opposition against the vote and continued with it, saying, "The agreement between the governing and the opposition parties, upon addressing the revision proposal at the plenary session on December 1, has to be carried out."

Meanwhile, the Uri Party is expecting yet another clash with the GNP regarding the issue of abolishing the National Security Law (NSL) and revising the criminal law, which is scheduled to be handled by the Assembly`s LJC on December 3.

The Uri Party is looking to hold a pro tem session of the National Assembly within this month to deal with three other legislations, excluding the abolishment of NSL, the private school act, the media relations act, and the act on fact-finding investigations on past events.

GNP leader Park Geun-hye held a press conference to oppose the pro tem session, saying, "The internal measure of the party is not to open an extraordinary session. If the majority party keeps insisting on passing the four major legislations, we will have to resort to force to halt the effort."

Myoung-Gun Lee Min-Hyuk Park gun43@donga.com mhpark@donga.com