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Parliament locks horns over adoption of witnesses at gov`t audit

Parliament locks horns over adoption of witnesses at gov`t audit

Posted October. 09, 2014 03:15,   


The ruling and opposition parties continued dispute over the adoption of businesspeople as witnesses on Wednesday, the second day of the parliamentary audit of the government. Some standing committees had disruptions in proceeding for some time.

The Environment and Labor Committee, whose Tuesday’s session ended even without asking of a single question as the rival parties engaged in a tug-of-war over the adoption as witnesses of conglomerate owners, including Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, saw a similar situation in the audit of the Employment and Labor Ministry again on Wednesday.

Rep. Kwon Sung-dong of the ruling Saenuri Party and Rep. Lee In-young, who are secretaries of their parties in the committee, held negotiations over adoption of businessmen as witnesses in the morning, but failed to narrow differences. Audit of the Employment and Labor Ministry started at 11:45 a.m., delayed from its original opening at 10 a.m., but it was adjourned 30 minutes later as lawmakers of the ruling and opposition parties criticized each other while making remarks on agendas of the audit. The committee barely managed to resume the session as the opposition party said around 2:20 p.m., “We will proceed with audit by considering people’s concerns.”

Yet again over the adoption of witnesses including bank presidents, the ruling and opposition parties exchanged loud verbal attacks and temporarily adjourned during the National Policy Committee’s audit of the National Research Council for Economics, Humanities and Social Sciences under the Prime Minister’s Office and the council’s affiliate think tanks.

While the National Policy Committee was proceeding with the audit on the day, secretaries of the ruling and opposition parties for the committee held negotiations over adoption of witnesses for audit of the Financial Services Commission and the Financial Supervisory Board, which is scheduled for Thursday and Friday next week, but failed to reach a conclusion. The rival parties were in fierce dispute over the need for attendance at the committee’s audit hearing of Hana Financial Group chairman, Hana Bank president and Korea Exchange Bank president in connection with the early merger of the two banks.

The Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee’s audit of the Unification Ministry addressed as core agenda whether the government will lift the May 24 measures or not, an issue that erupted after three high-powered North Korean leaders` visit to Seoul last week.

“It is important that the two Koreas overcome the May 24 measures through mutual discussions,” Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae said. “To this end, we will strongly demand the North to take a responsible measure for the sinking of the naval corvette Cheonan (by the North’s torpedo attack) in whatever form of a meeting between the two Koreas.”

At the Legislation and Judiciary Committee’s audit of the Seoul High Court, the ruling and opposition parties exchanged fierce verbal battle over the court’s referring to the Constitutional Court for adjudication on the constitutionality of Article 2 of the Teachers’ Union Act, which was the basis for a lower court’s ruling that found the Korea Teachers and Education Workers’ Union illegal. Article 2 of the act provides that "those who have been dismissed" cannot be construed as teachers.