[EDITORIALS]Sad day at the AssemblyAnother shameful incident took place at the National Assembly when bills that had passed Assembly deliberation earlier were put to reconfirmation through ballot counting. Bills that were declared to have passed the Assembly without confirming a quorum for passage were nullified altogether. When bills were put to reballoting, some legislators voted in place of their colleagues.
We think highly of the Assembly's decision to nullify the passage of bills and put them on ballot again, although this action was urged by the people. It is good to admit mistakes and try to fix them, even belatedly. The use of an electronic ballot system, which has not been in use in the meantime, is a reflection of the Assembly's determination to not repeat the same mistakes or abnormal practices. The speaker of the Assembly, Park Kwan-yong, ordered the use of an electronic ballot system to stop the controversy over the lack of a quorum. He meant to change the practice of passing bills by simply asking the floor whether there were any objections to them, and to declare their passage with the approval not only by the lawmakers in the hall but also those outside. Since the electronic ballot system keeps records of individual lawmakers' decisions, the system will also help enhance a sense of responsibility among lawmakers.
On the first day of using the system, which will be recorded in the Assembly's history, at least two lawmakers cast ballots in place of their colleagues. It was an insult to balloting and a shameful act in betrayal of their status as lawmakers. If only they thought about the dignity of laws that will regulate and protect people's lives, they would not have dared to play tricks with the balloting system.
Lee Sang-bae of the Grand National Party admitted manipulating the balloting system in place of a colleague, and apologized. But Park Sang-hee of the Millennium Democratic Party, who was stopped by the Assembly clerk while casting a proxy vote for the third time, denied the allegation. Re-entering bills already passed and proxy voting demonstrate the need for the people to supervise the legislature consistently.