Go to contents

Internal Party Feud Could Derail Media Reform Bills

Posted July. 20, 2009 03:16,   


The countdown has begun for the National Assembly speaker to invoke his authority to submit disputed media reform bills to a vote, but yet another potential delay looms.

Former ruling Grand National Party leader and political heavyweight Park Geun-hye has announced her intent to vote no if the party tries to railroad the bills at the main parliamentary session.

Ruling party floor leader Ahn Sang-soo told a meeting of party members at the National Assembly yesterday, “I will do my best to get the media reform bills passed regardless of whether we can negotiate with the opposition.”

“We will ask our lawmakers who are traveling abroad to return home if a vote is held tomorrow. All members can cast their ballots tomorrow.”

“Since the Grand National Party submitted a request asking the parliamentary speaker to call a main session Monday, we expect the speaker to invoke his authority to submit the bills Monday under any circumstance,” he added.

Yesterday morning, Ahn and main opposition Democratic Party floor leader Lee Kang-rae held a 20-minute meeting on the bills at the office of the parliamentary steering committee chairman, but failed to narrow differences.

Under this circumstance, former ruling party chief Park was quoted by her confidant Lee Jung-hyun as saying, “If I attend the main session, it will be to vote against the bills.”

After hearing that Ahn said she will participate in the vote Monday, Park was quoted as saying “I never said I’d attend.”

With Park’s open objection to the media bills, the stance of pro-Park lawmakers on the bill will likely be the main obstacle to the bills’ approval. Analysts say how the some 50 pro-Park lawmakers out of the ruling party’s 169 parliamentary members will vote will determine the fate of the bills.

The ruling party’s leadership could also delay the vote by a day or two to coordinate its platform.

National Assembly Speaker Kim Hyong-o yesterday once again urged the heads of the parliamentary blocs of the ruling and opposition parties to conclude negotiations over the media reform bills. His aide said, “If the ruling and opposition parties fail to compromise on the bills, the speaker will have no choice but to submit the bills in his capacity.”

Since the ruling party requested that Speaker Kim call a main assembly session last week, the session can be convened from 10 a.m. today for five days.

On deliberation of the media reform bills, Democratic Party Chairman Chung Sye-kyun proposed a meeting with President Lee Myung-bak. Chung also began yesterday a hunger strike to protest the ruling party’s attempt to get the bills submitted by the speaker.

Democratic Party spokesman Noh Young-min said in a party commentary, “Former Chairwoman Park made a difficult decision in accordance with the public consensus,” adding, “Speaker Kim also must follow the people’s will and refrain from submitting the bills on his own.”