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Second Consecutive Day of Confrontation at Assembly’s Conference Room

Second Consecutive Day of Confrontation at Assembly’s Conference Room

Posted December. 31, 2004 22:52,   


The ruling and opposition parties continued standing face-to-face with each other over four crucial reform bills such as a National Security Law reform bill even on the last day of 2004.

At the floor leaders’ meeting held the night before, the two parties agreed to pass two of the Uri party’s reform bills regarding probing the past and curbs on press ownership, excluding National Security Law and Private School Law. Based on the agreement of the meeting, the ruling Uri leadership decided their position to deal with 20 agendas. However, Grand National Party (GNP) lawmakers protesting the decision occupied the conference room, failing the ruling party’s effort.

As negotiations between the two parties could not be made, and in an effort to pass the bills, Assembly Speaker Kim One-ki tried to enter the conference room at 11:20 a.m. on Friday only to face a blockade of GNP lawmakers.

Kim told a group of reporters, “Allowing violent actions might cause an obstruction of proceedings.” He also warned, “If necessary, I will take every measure to honor the agreements,” suggesting a possibility to exert his right for smoother proceedings.

Bills and measures the ruling party tried to settle on Friday include: the budget for the new year, the government proposal to extend Korea’s troop presence in Iraq, measures on pension management and private investment, the Past Injustices Investigation Law, a press reform bill, and the total real estate tax.

If this year’s budget and the troop extension bills could not be settled during the day, for the first time in the nation’s constitutional history, it would be inevitable to draw up a semi-budget and cause the illegal presence of Korea’s troop overseas.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly committee on budget and accounts held a session early Friday morning without GNP lawmakers attending and decided next year’s gross budget (including general and special accounts) of 194 trillion 783.3 billion won, which is reduced by 961.8 billion won from the government’s original proposals of 195 trillion 745.1 billion won, sending the budget issues to the Assembly plenary session.

Yeon-Wook Jung jyw11@donga.com