[EDITORIALS]Reform the Assembly Law

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[EDITORIALS]Reform the Assembly Law

The National Assembly has decided to open a plenary session on Nov. 14 to debate bills related to political reform. The lawmakers did the right thing, although they had previously agreed to close the Assembly on Friday, which would have reduced the original session by more than a month. The lawmakers were forced by public opinion to change their plans.

The lawmakers should carry out their essential duties, which are mainly amending the National Assembly Act. The Assembly session might end with only minor amendments to the law, for example, to expand government support to election campaigns.

That must not happen.

The experience and will of Park Kwan-yong, the Assembly speaker, to improve the legislature will be shown in the amendments made to the National Assembly Act. The bill has multipartisan support; its intent is to stimulate more debate in the Assembly and limit the frequent changes in assignments to standing committees to reduce the indecent political mudslinging that goes on now. The bill strengthens discipline in dealing with the national budget; the Assembly is now mainly a rubber stamp. It also requires the retention of stenographic records of Assembly remarks to make lawmakers watch what they say more carefully. The bill could ease the people's hatred and contempt towards the Assembly and contribute to the improvement of Assembly politics.

Because of the present flux in our political parties, lawmakers have a chance to enact reforms because they know they are needed without worrying about partisan politics. We urge the Assembly to enact the GNP proposal to allow the president-elect to nominate a new prime minister. Despite MDP cynicism, this is an urgent matter, and the bill would prevent an administrative vacuum. As it is now, the outgoing prime minister is required to endorse the president-elect's choices for ministers, and the result can be delays in forming a new cabinet.

Assembly members should not just advocate political reform; they should enact it. We need urgent action.
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