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Bipartisan Bickering to Peak This Week

Posted December. 22, 2008 06:09,   


As bipartisan wrangling is expected to peak this week over the passage of controversial bills, the ruling Grand National Party and the presidential office promised yesterday to reach a consensus with the main opposition Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party is occupying parliamentary committee chambers in protest of the ruling party’s unilateral presentation of a motion to ratify the free trade agreement with the United States last week.

Ruling party chief Park Hee-tae told reporters yesterday at party headquarters that he will make last-ditch efforts to negotiate with the Democratic Party through until Thursday.

Grand National Party Floor Leader Hong Joon-pyo echoed Park’s comment by saying, “We will hold dialogue with the opposition party and try to reach an agreement over contentious bills.”

To prepare for the event of failure, however, several ruling party lawmakers with legal backgrounds reportedly selected Saturday 30 pending bills that will produce no problems when put to a floor vote.

“(Ruling party members) sorted out bills that will clash with other laws and be deemed unconstitutional because standing committees and the judiciary committee are at a standstill,” said a key official of the ruling party.

Setting Thursday as a deadline, the presidential office will also contact the leadership of the main opposition to have dialogue.

The Democratic Party demanded that President Lee Myung-bak and the ruling party apologize to the public for creating a legislative deadlock and prevent a recurrence of what the party called “wrongful acts.”

Democratic Party Floor Leader Won Hye-young said in a news conference the same day, “Unless we are promised by the presidential office and the Grand National Party not to repeat the same acts, we have no intention to hold dialogue and negotiations.”

The opposition party also filed a request yesterday with the Constitutional Court to nullify the unilateral presentation of the free trade deal before parliament.