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GNP Begins School Law Revision Fight

Posted December. 13, 2005 07:21,   


The Grand National Party (GNP) has launched a campaign to nullify the revision of the private school law which passed in the National Assembly last week.

To that end, the GNP has decided to boycott all parliamentary proceedings and begin its attempt to overturn the law starting today.

With the decision, a special session of the National Assembly, convened by the ruling Uri Party, the Millennium Democratic Party and the Democratic Labor Party, was disrupted on the very first day on December 12.

Launching an Outdoor Struggle-

The GNP is planning to hold a rally denouncing the “railroading” of the private school law at 11:30 a.m. in Myeongdong, Seoul and hold a candlelight vigil to urge the repeal of the revision at 4:30 p.m. today.

It is also planning to organize a massive rally around December 16 in the Seoul Plaza in front of Seoul City Hall.

GNP Chair Park Geun-hye said in party official meetings yesterday, “I will concentrate all of the party’s energy on the struggle to cancel the revision. The party leadership should take the lead in this struggle with a firm determination.” The party leadership, including Park, and other lawmakers also renewed their determination to actively participate in outside rallies organized by private education bodies.

The party formed a center for its campaign against the private school law and “to protect our children” headed by Representative Rhee-Q Taek and including 17 party members, including high-ranking party officials. A spokesperson from the center said that it would join forces with the public, parents, and private education institutions to cancel the private school law.

Some 20 GNP representatives, including Rhee, launched a sit-in strike at the office of Speaker Kim One-ki in a protest around 11:00 a.m. on that day, demanding an explanation of the procedural faults in passing the revision bill and resignation of Kim. The representatives said, “We will not budge an inch until Kim offers an acceptable explanation and apology.” Kim was away from his office at the time.

The GNP has decided to submit a no-confidence resolution and file a lawsuit against Kim with the Special Committee on Ethics of the National Assembly. It will also file a complaint with the Constitutional Court, saying that Kim did not follow National Assembly law related to the official authority.

The party will also accuse Uri Party Chairman Chung Se-kyun on the charge of obstruction of execution of official duties. The opposition party said that Chung hindered the execution of official duties by blocking the entry of the GNP lawmakers by mobilizing aides and officers of the party secretariat when the voting on the revision of the private school law was held on December 9.

In addition, the party also plans to push forward a constitutional lawsuit against the revision of the private school law, submit a resolution recommending the discharge of the secretary general of the National Assembly, and push for verification of the suspicious proxy vote.

A Dual Strategy-

In response to the GNP’s boycotting of parliamentary proceedings, the ruling Uri Party said, “It cannot be understood,” urging the opposition party to offer an apology to the public and attend National Assembly proceedings.

Oh Young-sik, the spokesman for the ruling party, said, “The GNP should reflect on its behavior and offer an apology to the public, since it is launching a political attack even after hampering the normal procedure for bill passage with force.” He explained that a prolonged disruption in the National Assembly would inevitably lead the ruling party to pass the follow-up measure of the real estate measure with the help of other opposition parties.

However, the prevailing opinion within the Uri Party is that it will undergo a “cooling-off period” this week and persuade the GNP to attend parliament through unofficial contacts.

An Uri Party official directly related to the issue said, “We are thinking of proposing that we could consider the GNP’s position in proceeding with the tax cut bill in order for the party to begin talks.” But the official also said, “We will focus on persuading the opposition party until the middle of this week. If there’s no change of attitude by that time, we will also have to make our own decision.”

Dong-Yong Min woogija@donga.com mindy@donga.com