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Ruling Party Snatches Chairmanship to "Slip-through" Bills

Ruling Party Snatches Chairmanship to "Slip-through" Bills

Posted December. 06, 2004 22:35,   


The Uri Party unilaterally put bills on the abolition of the National Security Law and the revision of the criminal law on the agenda at the Legislation and Judiciary Committee meeting of the National Assembly (LJC) on December 6 after taking the chairman`s command of the meeting by an irregular method. As the Grand National Party (GNP) asserts that the presentation of those bills was fundamentally invalid, the regular session of the Assembly is heading towards another collapse with only two days to go until the conclusion of this session.

A full-blown confrontation of the ruling and the opposition parties is expected as the Uri Party is planning on presenting other bills regarding the press, investigation on pro-Japan activists, and private schools to the Culture and Tourism Committee, the Government Administration and Home Affairs Committee, and the Education Committee on December 7.

The LJC`s executive secretary, Choi Jae-chun of the Uri party, seized the floor around 4:10 p.m. on December 6, getting through GNP members` barricade, before the chairman Choi Yeon-hee (GNP) entered the meeting hall and announced, "Standing proxy of the chairman, I, hereby, present the two bills on NSL annulment and another on revision of the criminal law before the Assembly." Secretary Choi used the book of National Assembly Law to strike the chairman`s podium thrice.

Secretary Choi held a press conference right after the incident to say that "Chairman Choi of the GNP purposefully evaded and refused to put the annulment proposal of the NSL put forth by the Uri Party and the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) for three days," and asserted, "I put the bills out to the Assembly through legitimate procedures according to the National Assembly Law, standing in for the chairman as a secretary from a party other than that of the chairman`s own."

The Grand National Party, however, declared that the procedure of presenting those bills on abolishing the NSL, with Secretary Choi claiming to be an acting LJC chair without proper transfer of command of the meeting, did not meet legal requisites, thus rendering the whole event fundamentally invalid. Spokesperson Chun Yeo-ok of the GNP said, "The Uri Party attempted to slip through those bills without properly gaining mastery of the meeting, disregarding both the announcement of the start of the deliberation and the roll-call completely," and added, "even in instances of slip-ons, some requirements are needed to be met, and today`s incident is nothing more than a mishap."

Such an incident, to have an executive member of a National Assembly`s committee attempting to railroad in a bill by seizing the chairman`s podium is a first ever in the history of the constitutional government.

Meanwhile, the speaker of the National Assembly, Kim Won-ki, said at a press conference, "Setting aside the issue of legitimacy of the presentation procedure of the bills on NSL annulment, the leadership of both the ruling and the opposition parties need to politically negotiate their stance on whether to keep or forego of the NSL and gather more public opinions on the issue thoroughly through debates and public hearings."

Young-Chan Yoon Myoung-Gun Lee yyc11@donga.com gun43@donga.com