중앙데일리

Attend Assembly, Ruling Party Told

Jan 15,2001
Acting as ruling party chief, President Kim Dae-jung sent a message to the Millennium Democratic Party on Sunday to return to the National Assembly.

The ruling party has been boycotting the session that started Wednesday on the grounds that it was opened to forestall the opposition vice president, Rep. Kang Sam-jae, from appearing before the prosecution. He has immunity as long as the session continues.

The opposition Grand National Party refuses to recognize the United Liberal Democrats, the newly born negotiating group in the parliament and an ally of the ruling party. The United Liberal
Democrats won its new status after the ruling party sent over four of its lawmakers to give the splinter party the 20 seats needed to be a negotiating group.

Officials said that President Kim called Kim Joong-kwon, the ruling party's chairman, directing that "whatever the opposition's ends may be, we should participate on the floor when the parliament
session opens."

The order follows the policy of "strong government led by the rule of law and democratic principles" that the president laid out before the nation last week at a news conference.

"We will push to have Mr. Kang arrested before the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins Jan.23," the ruling party chairman said.

The opposition party responded skeptically to the latest initiative by the president."We strongly suspect the ruling party is attempting to pass the arrest request for Rep. Kang Sam-jae using its numerical advantage," an opposition party spokesman said.

The renewed coalition gives 135 Assembly seats to the two parties, a majority.

Political observers said that by returning to the floor, the ruling party may well achieve its political aim of passing the prosecution's request to arrest a sitting lawmaker, Mr. Kang, in the investigation into the funneling of spy agency funds to a political camp.

The ruling party also faces strong pressure from the opposition camp, which is planning outdoor rallies for two days, starting Monday, to denounce both the ruling party and the government.

by Lee Yang-soo




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