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Last-minute Commotion over Administrative City Bill

Posted March. 02, 2005 22:41,   


The National Assembly was due to hold a plenary session on Wednesday to pass legislation on the much-disputed proposal to build a new administrative city until members of the Grand National Party (GNP), occupying the conference room of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee since dawn, obstructed and effectively stalled the effort.

Representatives Lee Jae-oh, Kim Moon-soo, Park Kye-dong, and Bae Il-do, who were protesting from the National Assembly office of the opposition party’s floor leader, began their protests after seizing and locking themselves in the Legislation and Judiciary Committee’s conference room during the wee hours of the morning.

The Uri Party issued a request to change the setting of the meeting to the committee chairman Choi Yeon-hee, whose refusal only prolonged the state of confrontation between the ruling and opposing parties.

The ruling Uri Party is vowing to introduce the bill regarding the proposed administrative city on its own terms should its counterpart continue to resist the change of venue, leaving open the likelihood of a physical encounter between the two main parties.

At Wednesday’s GNP’s general meeting, Chairwoman Park Geun-hye retorted, “Barring a natural disaster, a vote readjusting this party’s already-fixed position will only undermine the credibility placed on us by the Korean people.” She declared that the party’s existing stance will be solidified by her “recommendation for confirmation.”

Nonetheless, dissenting party members persevered in their protests. In particular, Park Se-il, chairman of the Grand National Party’s Policy Committee, issued his resignation of the post, calling for a change in the party’s official position. He threatened to jettison his seat itself, should the party fail to ultimately reposition itself on the issue.

The leadership of the opposition Grand National Party contacted its counterpart on Wednesday afternoon to negotiate its request to stay the deliberation of the bill until the Assembly’s temporary session in April, a proposal that was firmly rejected by the ruling party.

The two parties did agree, however, to accept the legislations that had already passed through the Legislation and Judiciary Committee, before moving on to enact a revised civil law which abolishes the provisions that institutionalize the head-of-family system. The parties also approved a draft amendment of the bill regulating collective stock lawsuits, which excludes a corporation’s act of account rigging aimed at dissolving such past fixtures from the boundary of collective lawsuits. On Wednesday, the National Assembly passed a total of 108 bills and legislations.

The Legislation and Judiciary Committee was to vote on the draft amendment of the National Security Protection Act in order to establish the legal basis for the post of the deputy chief of the National Security Council, a position currently held by Lee Jong-seok. The intention was thwarted by the protesting representatives of the opposition party.

Young-Chan Yoon yyc11@donga.com