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Speaker Not to Invoke Right to Deliberate Bills `til Thursday

Speaker Not to Invoke Right to Deliberate Bills `til Thursday

Posted January. 05, 2009 09:10,   


National Assembly Speaker Kim Hyong-o said yesterday that if rival parties fail to agree on contentious bills by Thursday, the last day of the extraordinary parliamentary session, he will carry them over to next month’s extra session instead of invoking his right to deliberate them.

He also warned of stern action if opposition party leaders and their aides do not end their sit-in protest at the National assembly by yesterday, regardless of a compromise by the ruling and opposition parties.

Kim announced a statement on the National Assembly’s normalization in a news conference in his office. “I strongly urge negotiators from the ruling and opposition parties to meet with each other without preconditions and hold dialogue,” he said.

“I hope lawmakers from different parties delegate full power to their negotiators to ensure that the negotiations can proceed in a responsible manner.”

“I’ve refrained from using my power to submit bills as long as possible, and will continue do so,” he added. “Since there is no progress in negotiations, however, I will have no choice but to make a lonely decision for the nation’s history if the partisan standoff continues.”

The speaker’s chief secretary Kim Yang-soo said, “The lonely decision means that he will take criticism from both parties. He meant he will close the National Assembly after Thursday and hold a cooling off period before submitting the bills for deliberation in the extra parliamentary session next month.”

Speaker Kim is thus expected to reject the ruling Grand National Party’s repeated request to submit the contentious bills at his own discretion in this parliamentary session. If this happens, strong protests are likely from the presidential office and the ruling camp.

“Anyone who is not a lawmaker must leave the National Assembly by today,” Speaker Kim said. “This is my last warning and I will take full responsibility.”

The National Assembly Secretariat over the weekend mobilized some 140 police and security guards on six occasions Saturday and Sunday to remove about 400 Democratic Party leaders and their aides staging a sit-in at the entrance of the Assembly main hall, but failed in the face of strong resistance.

The violence injured more than 100 lawmakers and security staff.

The National Assembly Secretariat said, “The National Assembly is out of control and normal parliamentary operations have come to a halt. Some engaged in the sit-in were unidentified outsiders.”

The Democratic Party also filed yesterday a lawsuit against Speaker Kim, the National Assembly Secretary General Park Gye-dong, and National Policy Agency Commissioner General Eo Cheong-soo.