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Parties Clash Over Extra Parliamentary Session This Month

Parties Clash Over Extra Parliamentary Session This Month

Posted June. 24, 2009 08:57,   


Another major confrontation between the ruling and opposition parties began yesterday following those that erupted late last year and early this year.

The main opposition Democratic Party waged a rally in front of the main chamber of the National Assembly. It protested the ruling Grand National Party’s move to ask National Assembly Speaker Kim Hyong-o to convene an extra parliamentary session this month.

The ruling party submitted a form for demonstration to the National Assembly secretariat under the names of 177 lawmakers: all 170 from the ruling party, five from the Pro-Park Alliance, and two independents.

In response, the Democratic Party held a general assembly at parliament at 3 p.m. and announced it will seek to stop the move. Eighteen members of two groups comprising first and second-time lawmakers started a sit-in protest at Rotunda Hall in front of the Assembly’s main chamber.

This came more than five months after Democratic Party lawmakers ended Jan. 5 a sit-in protest that had begun at the end of last year.

“People cannot help but be angry about the dereliction of duty by the Democratic Party, which uses taxpayers’ money but refuses to open a special session at the time of high unemployment,” ruling party floor leader Ahn Sang-soo told a party meeting in the morning.

“I’ll fix this bad practice that uses the opening of a special session as a political means.”

Ahn said he will allow all standing committees to start working from Monday and asked all standing committees to prepare for the bills on non-regular workers and media law revision.

Democratic Party floor leader Lee Kang-rae told a meeting of his party’s lawmakers, “When we look at the relationship between the Grand National Party and the presidential office, we seem to have gone back to 22 years ago. The ruling party is likely to go ahead without considering our demand for scrapping the opening of the session. We cannot help but wage a long and challenging fight.”

The minor progressive Democratic Labor Party said in a commentary, “The Grand National Party’s call for opening a session is the declaration of death for parliamentary democracy, and this means the government is headed toward a one-party dictatorship.”

National Assembly Speaker Kim posted an announcement on this month’s extra session. “Each party leadership must reach a consensus on the bigger cause to answer public doubts over the existence of the National Assembly. I strongly urge both the ruling and opposition party floor leaders to agree on the normal opening of a session this month,” he said.

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