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Uri Party Rejects School Law Amendment

Posted May. 01, 2006 03:34,   


Controversy is mounting as the ruling Uri Party made a head-on rejection of what President Roh Moo-hyun calls “a compromise for a win-win situation” with regard to re-amendment of the Private School Law.

“All the lawmakers of the party agreed that undermining the foundation of the Private School Law can never be tolerated, and that nullification or debilitation of the Law should never happen,” said Uri Party Chairman Chung Dong-young in an emergency meeting of the Uri Party’s supreme council members on April 30 in Incheon, where Choi Ki-seon joined the party as its candidate for Incheon mayor. On that day, the Uri Party planned to pursue convening a special session of the National Assembly in May to deal with legislation of the March 30 real estate policy, but the major opposition Grand National Party (GNP) resisted by saying, “A special session of the National Assembly is not needed if a revised bill of the Private School Act is not accepted.” Under these circumstances, it is highly expected that the crippled operation of the National Assembly regarding this issue might be prolonged.

In the face of the Uri Party’s exceptional refusal to President Roh’s “recommendation,” the GNP speculates the ruling party’s move might be a “conspiration” aiming at the local election in May. Some believe the President’s “lame duck” status has begun in earnest.

Some observers in the Uri Party say President Roh might “be planning to leave the party after the local election.”

After the supreme council meeting on April 30, Uri Party spokesperson Woo Sang-ho stated, “The party’s decision was not to reject the president’s suggestion, but to respect his opinion and find a realistic solution for legislating urgent issues related to people’s livelihoods,” in an effort to keep the issue from being considered a conflict between the party and Cheong Wa Dae.

“The President, as the head of state, expressed his concern about current legislative issues, but the ruling party might well have its own stance,” said spokesperson Chung Tae-ho of Cheong Wa Dae. “The party has always taken care of strategies for matters in the National Assembly.”

In respect to the crippled operation of the National Assembly regarding the re-amendment of the Private School Law, President Roh had held a breakfast meeting in Cheong Wa Dae on April 29 and told floor leaders Kim Han-gil of the Uri Party and Lee Jae-oh of the GNP, “Now it is time for the ruling party to make compromises and take comprehensive responsibility for state affairs.”

Yeon-Wook Jung jyw11@donga.com jin0619@donga.com