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Parties Disagree Government Restructuring Plan

Posted December. 20, 2008 01:57,   


The liberal United Democratic Party and the conservative Grand National Party tried to hammer out a deal over the envisioned government reorganization, but ended up failing to narrow their difference on Monday.

President-elect Lee Myung-bak held an emergency press conference at 8 p.m. yesterday and released the list of 15 ministers for his new administration regardless of whether the negotiation would resume.

As the UDP and the GNP are likely to blame each other for the failed deal, a gloomy forecast seems obvious in the run-up to the April general elections.

The two parties tried to find common ground by holding the meeting of the party leaders in the morning and the senior members’ meeting in the afternoon, but they just confirmed their differences, failing to reach to a conclusion.

The UDP suggested free vote on two revision bills after introducing them simultaneously to the National Assembly in the plenary session. One bill including the retention of the Unification Ministry is suggested by the GNP and the presidential transition committee and the other, which includes retaining the Unification, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and Gender Equality and Family ministries, is suggested by the UDP.

GNP floor leader Ahn Sang-soo, however, said after meeting his UDP counterpart Kim Hyo-seok twice in the day, “We had a little progress, but we failed to agree in some area.”

The GNP reconfirmed its stance that it would never accept the retention of the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, and decided to announce the breakdown of the deal on Feb. 19, if the UDP does not change its attitude.

Meanwhile, President-elect Lee had a closed meeting with President Roh Moo-hyun in the presidential office for 105 minutes, and asked for the president’s help to pass the ratification of the KOR-US Free Trade Agreement before his term ends. Lee’s spokesman Joo ho-young said, “President Roh agreed with Lee.”

According to Lee’s chief of staff Yim Tae-hee, Lee explained the necessity of restructuring government organizations, and President Roh said, “In terms of logistics, (the Construction and Transportation Ministry’s absorption of some of the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry to transform into the Homeland and Maritime Affairs Ministry) seems to be right.”

But his remark was not in favor of abolishing the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, added Yim.

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