중앙데일리

Minor Party Jockeying for Position

Dec 19,2000
The ruling and the main opposition party bickered on the floor of the National Assembly Monday over a bill to reduce from 20 to 10 the number of seats needed to form a parliamentary negotiating group.

In the National Assembly's Steering Committee meeting, the ruling Millennium Democratic Party and the minor United Liberal Democrats moved collectively to introduce a revised bill on parliamentary operations.

The opposition Grand National Party protested the introduction of the bill. The GNP floor leader, Chung Chang-wha, hurled his nameplate in protest.

The opposition party threatened to slow the bill's progress.

If passed, the bill would give the ruling party's former coalition partner, the United Liberal Democrats, negotiating party status. In the 273-seat assembly, the minor splinter party led by Kim Jong-pil holds 17 seats.

The United Liberal Democrats view the current extra session as the last chance for the revised bill. President Kim Dae-jung is reportedly asking for a meeting with the honorary chairman of the United Liberal Democrats, Kim Jong-pil, to obtain the cooperation of his former coalition partner.

Negotiating status gives, among other things, the United Liberal Democrats party a subsidy from the parliament and its floor leader the power to negotiate with other leaders.

The ruling party needs the cooperation of the United Liberal Democrats to get a majority party in parliament votes. The president, who announced a broad party and political reform is expected to court the minor splinter party,

The bill had been railroaded before at the Steering Committee in July by the ruling party and its former coalition partner. The railroading of the bill, which never got introduced in the main session, prompted an impasse.

Meanwhile, legislators on the Special Committee on Budgets and Accounts revealed details of the government's budget for fiscal 2001 for the what is believed to be first time in Korean history.


by Kim Kyo-joon




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