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Parliament Rejects Bill to Nix Gov’t Relocation

Posted June. 30, 2010 12:56,   


The National Assembly voted down Tuesday a controversial bill aim at scrapping the planned relocation of key government offices out of Seoul, an issue which had been hotly contested for about 10 months.

The revision to a law on building the new administrative region Sejong City in Yeongi, South Chungcheong Province, was rejected by a 164-105 vote with six abstentions. Of 291 incumbent lawmakers, 275 participated in the ballot.

Ruling Grand National Party lawmakers supporting former party chief Park Geun-hye and opposition legislators rejected the bill as expected. This means 13 government ministries and agencies will be relocated to Sejong City following the original plan.

Before the voting, 12 lawmakers debated the bill, which was introduced by 66 ruling party lawmakers. In an unusual move, Park, who has insisted on sticking to the original relocation plan, directly took part in the debate and said the government’s promise to the people must be kept.

"I hope we will close this time-consuming debate and work together for a new future after today`s vote," she said.

Upon hearing the news, President Lee Myung-bak, who was on an official visit to Panama, expressed "deep regret" over the bill’s rejection, according to his spokeswoman Park Eun-hye. She quoted the president as saying he will respect the National Assembly’s decision.

“I hope we can all let the appraisal of the National Assembly’s decision to be left to history and go beyond the conflict over Sejong City and march together for the country’s advancement,” he was quoted as saying.