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Political War Looms After Sejong City Bill`s Veto

Posted June. 23, 2010 12:21,   


A parliamentary committee rejected Tuesday a disputed bill on revising the planned relocation of key government offices from Seoul to Sejong City in South Chungcheong Province.

The ruling Grand National Party, however, plans to override the veto and put the bill to a full parliamentary vote, escalating political wrangling over the bill at the last moment.

The party decided to put the bill to a full parliamentary vote under a National Assembly law that allows a bill rejected by a standing parliamentary committee to be introduced to a full session for a vote if 30 or more lawmakers demand so within seven days after the veto. Under the law, the revision bill will likely be put to a vote at the main parliamentary session Monday.

The main opposition Democratic Party, which supports the original Sejong City plan, said it will prevent the parliamentary vote on the bill, warning of a “worst-case scenario” if the vote is held. Democratic Party floor spokesman Cho Young-taek said his party will do everything it can, including the use of physical force, to block the bill’s introduction.

Ruling party lawmakers loyal to former party chief Park Geun-hye and those from the minor conservative Liberty Forward Party are also opposed to the parliamentary vote.

Even if the bill is put to a vote at a full session, the ruling and opposition parties are sharply divided over its introduction. The ruling party says the bill can be introduced as soon as it is brought up at the main session, but its main rival claims a separate procedure is necessary.

If the opposition and pro-Park lawmakers seek to block the vote, it is unclear whether the plenary session can vote on the bill Monday or Tuesday next week. Even if a vote is held, the bill is unlikely to win majority support.

On if he will put the bill to a vote if it is introduced to the main session, National Assembly Speaker Park Hee-tae simply said he will act according to parliamentary law. If he fails to introduce the bill Monday or Tuesday next week, the voting will take place in the next parliamentary session.

Earlier Tuesday, the parliamentary committee on land, transport and maritime affairs vetoed all four bills on the revision of the Sejong City plan. The full revision bill was rejected in a 12-18 vote with one abstention, while the other three were voted down 0-29 with two abstentions.

President Lee Myung-bak’s spokesman Park Sun-kyu said he hopes all lawmakers will handle the bill with a sense of historical responsibility, hinting at the presidential office’s desire for the bill to be put to a parliamentary vote.

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