The ruling and opposition parties wrangled over the revision to the Grain Management Act, which was railroaded through a parliamentary committee on Wednesday. The revised bill makes it mandatory for the government to purchase the excessive rice supply. Experts say President Yoon Suk-yeol has effectively hinted at the possibility of vetoing the bill as he said, “It will not be much helpful to farmers.”
Before the parliamentary committee, some members of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea were picketing condemning oppression against the opposition party. Rep. Chung Hui-yong of the ruling People Power Party proposed to start the committee after removing the pickets, fueling opposition from the Democratic Party. Policymakers of both parties made statements on the matter, and the committee was adjourned only in 15 minutes before it resumed shortly.
Another issue at hand was the opposition party’s decision to railroad the revision. “It was utterly humiliating,” said Rep. Yoon Jae-gap of the Democratic Party. “I have proposed the Grain Management Act myself, and they call it a communist bill. Does that make me a communist?” Rep. Yoon said, asking for an apology. A day earlier, Rep. Ahn Byeong-gil of the ruling party denounced it as a “grain communist law.”
Arriving at his presidential office in Yongsan on Thursday morning, President Yoon Suk-yeol met with reporters and said, “The (revised) Grain Management Bill passed the standing parliamentary committee on Wednesday. And the opposition party passed it even without cost estimation.” This is the first time that President Yoon has expressed opposition to the controversial revised bill. “Such money should be spent for the development of farming villages,” the president said, urging an in-depth discussion on this agenda at a parliamentary level.
President Yoon’s remarks appear to be aimed at a potential consultation during the Legislation and Judiciary Committee before the bill is submitted to the plenary session. But some interpret it as a possibility of the president’s vetoing the bill should it be railroaded by the Democratic Party. Asked whether the comment was an insinuation of a presidential veto during a meeting with reporters, Senior Secretary to the President for Political Affairs Lee Jin-bok said he is expecting that the agenda will be handled well at the National Assembly.
Hye-Ryung Choi firstname.lastname@example.org · Su-Young Hong email@example.com