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Parliamentary regular session kicks off in 69 days finally

Parliamentary regular session kicks off in 69 days finally

Posted September. 02, 2014 05:27,   


The National Assembly managed to kick off its plenary session on Monday. As only a general meeting schedule was agreed in the 100-day session, however, the Assembly is likely to be in a political deadlock from the beginning. This is due to the disagreement between both the ruling and opposition parties over the Sewol Ferry bill, which calls for an independent investigation of the ferry disaster and a separate independent counsel.

The National Assembly held a general meeting right after the opening ceremony for the regular parliamentary session at 2 p.m. The regular session has been held in 69 days since June 24.

A bill on the arrest of Rep. Song Gwang-ho of the ruling Saenuri Party who has been charged for allegedly receiving 65 million won (64,230 U.S. dollars) from a railway parts supplier was reported to the general meeting. The bill approved by Park Hyeong-joon, the secretary-general of the National Assembly, passed the parliament with 183 votes (84.3 percent) out of 217 votes. Park Young-sun, floor leader of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, had a meeting with National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa on Monday morning, and decided to attend the parliamentary regular session after the NPAD general meeting in the afternoon.

As the National Assembly Act mandates that a motion on the arrest of an incumbent lawmaker must be voted between 24 and 72 hours after the motion is reported to the plenary session. A bill on appointing Kwon Soon-il, a nominee for a Supreme Court justice who passed a confirmation hearing, is also likely to be put on vote on Wednesday.

As both ruling and opposition parties have not reached an agreement on the schedule for the plenary session, it is uncertain when parliamentary inspections and a review on a budget proposal will take place. The NPAD plans to put the Sewol ferry bill on the top priority linking the bill to the passage of other bills. If the Sewol ferry bill is not agreed, other parliamentary plans will be interrupted. Chung appealed to both ruling and opposition parties, saying, “Please handle the Sewol ferry bill and other bills related to people’s livelihood before Friday when Chuseok holidays begin.”

Saenuri leadership including Floor Leader Lee Wan-koo had the third meeting and discussed disputed issues in the bill with the representatives of the families of ferry disaster victims on Monday afternoon. Lee said in the party`s general meeting before the meeting with the representatives, “We’re carefully looking at how the families of Danwon High School students are taking their position as they seem to be advised by many around them.”