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Ruling Party Threatens to Open Parliament Unilaterally

Posted July. 03, 2008 06:40,   


The ruling Grand National Party yesterday said it will open the National Assembly tomorrow with independent lawmakers if the opposition continues boycotting parliament.

GNP floor leader Hong Joon-pyo said at his office in the National Assembly, “If the (main opposition) United Democratic Party continues rejecting our request for ending its boycott of the paralyzed National Assembly despite our acceptance of all of its requirements, our party and independent lawmakers will go ahead with a unilateral opening of the National Assembly and elect the speaker Friday.”

The GNP has ordered its lawmakers to gather at parliament Friday.

On the proposal by the UDP and Liberty Forward Party to return to parliament on July 10, Hong said, “Unless they send a written promise to participate in the vote when they convene, we will go ahead with our plan. If the opposition fails to cooperate, all agreements between the ruling and opposition parties based on the promise of opening the National Assembly Friday and holding the speaker’s election will cease to be valid.”

The UDP blasted the written promise proposal, saying, “The request is a reminiscent of the practices of the dictatorship under the Park Chung-hee government.” The UDP also said several of its members were beaten by police during a candlelight protest, and that under this situation, the National Assembly cannot operate.

UDP spokesman Cho Jung-shik told a briefing yesterday, “The GNP says it will keep negotiating with opposition parties on ending the boycott and elect only the parliamentary speaker Friday, but this is just lip service. Selecting the speaker means opening parliament and the party’s push for a unilateral session is nothing short of running a poor and failed National Assembly and speaker.”

“The GNP should not operate parliament by itself as it will taint the image of the National Assembly in the wake of the police crackdown on opposition lawmakers. The UDP has no intent to accept the GNP request. The GNP also should drop it request for convening a plenary session.”

The UDP also demanded the dismissal of the riot police responsible for the violence against the party’s lawmakers and the resignations of the chiefs of the National Police Agency and the Seoul Police Agency.

UDP floor leader Won Hye-young said, “The LFP suggested an end to the parliamentary boycott after July 10. We will not confirm the proposal at the moment and take it as an option.”

On this, GNP floor leader Hong said, “The operating time of the National Assembly is set by law and cannot be decided by negotiations between the ruling and opposition parties. The UDP should not blame the unilateral election of the speaker given that we have no choice but to take this measure to prevent a prolonged leadership vacuum.”

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