Ruling and opposition parties are finding it difficult to narrow differences over next year’s budget and still targeting to pass the bill at the regular session on Thursday. Still, some lawmakers are unable to attend the session due to overseas business trips. The business trips are legislative activities, but some criticize that deliberating on the budget bill during an economic crisis is neglecting the most important duties of lawmakers.
According to the National Assembly on Wednesday, eight lawmakers affiliated with the Special Committee for Political Reform boarded a plan for Europe after voting to dismiss Minister Lee Sang-min of Public Administration and Security on Sunday. The lawmakers are Kim Young-bae, Nam In-soon, Shin Jeong-hoon, Jeon Jae-soo from the Democratic Party, Kang Min-kuk, Cho Hae-jin and Choi Hyeong-doo of the People Power Party and Shim Sang-jeong of the Justice Party.
They will visit Ireland, France, and Germany for seven days and six nights. The business trip had been planned months ahead to benchmark overseas cases on electoral systems and redistricting. They will be unable to attend the plenary session, which is scheduled for Thursday, as they will be arriving on Sunday. “The schedule has been planned several months ahead after the regular session ended,” said an official with the committee. “The trip is not, in any way, planned for touring purposes.”
Lawmaker Lee Ju-hwan and Lee Heon-seung of the People Power Party will be visiting Hungary and Central Asia for nine days from Sunday to help promote Busan’s hosting of the World Expo in 2030. The trip was designed to follow the president’s Special Envoys’ visit from Central Asia in August.
Lawmakers affiliated with the Committee on Culture, Sports and Tourism are visiting Japan since Monday for inspecting tourism infrastructure to promote exchanges between Korea and Japan. They had originally planned to return on Friday. Still, they advanced their arrival to early Thursday when the public criticized the lack of responsibility of the lawmakers for not attending the plenary session.