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[Analysis] Rival Parties to Continue Squabble over Parliament

[Analysis] Rival Parties to Continue Squabble over Parliament

Posted January. 08, 2009 05:21,   


As the ruling and opposition parties have locked horns, the National Assembly has failed to play its due role for almost one month. In the midst of this intense dispute, they are trying to revise the National Assembly Act for their own interests.

The ruling Grand National Party is attempting to prevent violence while the main opposition Democratic Party is struggling to strengthen the requirements for the National Assembly speaker to bring up a bill under his authority. Given that, the rival parties are highly likely to fight over the revision of the National Assembly Act.

At a supreme council meeting, ruling party floor leader Hong Joon-pyo said yesterday, “Lawmakers who make the National Assembly a place of violence should give up their status as lawmakers. Lawmakers who do not work should not get paid.”

“At this session of the National Assembly, we’ll revise the National Assembly Act. We’ll consider the revised National Assembly bill as the most significant bill.”

Ten ruling party members had suggested revising the National Assembly Act in November.

The revised bill stipulates that lawmakers should not occupy the seats of the National Assembly speaker or other offices without legal permission. Also, it says lawmakers who violate this will face suspension from their duties.

Lawmakers whose duties are suspended cannot receive their allowance and three-time offenders can be reinstated only after lawmakers agree to lift the suspension at the National Assembly plenary session.

In a phone call, ruling party lawmaker Lee Beom-rae said, “We’re considering enacting an additional law with the tentative name ‘Act Related to Maintaining Order at the National Assembly,’ under which lawmakers who disturb parliamentary order will face additional and harsher punishment.”

On the other hand, the Democratic Party is attempting to strengthen the requirements for the National Assembly speaker’s presentation of a bill under his official authority.

Party member Uh Yun-geun said, “We’re creating an act under which the requirements for the National Assembly speaker’s presentation of a bill under his official authority will be strengthened. We’ll propose the bill at the extra session of the National Assembly in February.”

The Democratic Party is attempting to regulate the speaker`s authority on presenting bills only after a certain time has passed after proposing the bill. It will also not allow bills that fail to undergo review by permanent committees or that do not draw a consensus from rival parties to be brought up by the speaker, save exceptions including a national emergency.

Under existing law, the speaker can bring up a bill to the plenary session if representatives of negotiation bodies fail to examine the bill within a given period.

Many blame both the ruling and opposition parties for their attempt to amend the National Assembly Act. The law governing the operation of the National Assembly has been revised 47 times since 1948.

When parliament stalls, the nation’s ruling and opposition parties have tried to revise the act. A series of revisions has damaged the unity and consistency of the act.

The National Assembly Secretariat will also seek measures to strengthen security at parliamentary facilities.

National Assembly Secretary General Park Gye-dong said yesterday, “I’ll strengthen the security of the National Assembly’s main hall to the level of the safe at the Bank of Korea. By doing so, I’ll prevent anyone from illegally occupying the hall.”

“We’ll consider measures such as installing electronic keys or iron gates. If electronic keys are installed, only those who know the personal identification number can open the door. Then no one can open the door even when he or she asks a key repairman to open it.”

The National Assembly secretariat will also add 50 guards.