[EDITORIALS]A final chance for redemptionThe election of the 17th National Assembly is over, but it will be weeks before the 16th National Assembly’s term ends. If it follows the usual path, the legislators will do nothing until May 29, collecting their enormous annual allowances and enjoying the various benefits that accrue to a member of the Assembly. The problem is that this is a crucial time for our country. The economy and the welfare of the people do not allow for a single moment of negligence, and should the National Assembly waste time while changing guards, it will mean heavy losses to the country. Therefore, we hope for an extraordinary session, the last for the 16th National Assembly, of processing urgent, public welfare-related bills.
There are currently 754 bills pending in the National Assembly; these include bills that were intentionally delayed because legislators knew they would cost them votes. In the case of the revision of the National Pension Act, calling for a hike of the premium rate to prevent the bankruptcy of the pension fund, discussions will have to start from the beginning should the current assembly fail to process it. In the end, this means the reforms would be harder to implement, and the pension system could become a cause of worry that would leave heavy burdens on future generations in our aging society.
That is why we must actively use lame-duck Assembly sessions, as the Congress does in the United States after mid-term elections. Even those who failed to be re-elected should fulfill their responsibilities to the end. Only 95 of the 273 members of the current Assembly were re-elected. If all members actively participate in the lame-duck session, regardless of the outcomes of their elections, it would be of great benefit to the country.
This session could become a final opportunity for the 16th National Assembly, whose image is stained with corruption and political feuding, to redeem itself in the eyes of the public. If only to allow the next Assembly to make a fresh start, the incumbents should process the dusty bills and lay a foundation for reform. National Assembly Speaker Park Kwan-yong, whose term ends with that of the current Assembly, should lead the way in wrapping things up productively and efficiently.