No more excusesPresident Lee Myung-bak urged the government and opposition parties to convene a special session of the National Assembly in May. He argued that agreed-upon bills should be finalized during the current lawmakers’ tenure.
President Lee made a fair and rational demand. The Liberty Forward Party opposed him, saying, “64 percent of the incumbent lawmakers cannot come back to the new National Assembly. Against this backdrop, we doubt that concerned committees and plenary sessions might be able to serve their roles.”
The Democratic Labor Party insisted, “We cannot agree on the opening of the National Assembly in May, now that the legislative ratification of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement and deregulation of corporate activities are widely regarded as policies mainly designed for further favoring conglomerates.”
Their arguments do not conform to principles and collide with realistic public interests.
The 17th National Assembly will continue to hold office until the end of May. The fact that many lawmakers lost in the elections and cannot take part in the 18th Assembly has nothing to do with public interest.
Lawmakers of the 17th Assembly should discharge their duties until their tenure expires, now that the people pay their salaries.
Lawmakers’ main duty is to open the National Assembly and deliberate on bills. If someone failed in the election and neglects his task as a lawmaker, he is no longer entitled to be a national leader. The same may be said of the president.
Imagine if he failed in taking the reins of government and neglected his tasks for more than two months after the election, until the expiry date of his tenure.
There are many pending bills focused on stabilizing people’s livelihoods and the economy that lawmakers postponed to pass because of the general elections.
Korea’s National Assembly is in a special position to expedite the ratification of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement. If it is successfully completed, Korea can urge the U.S. Congress to push the ratification process forward.
We wanted the Korea-US free trade agreement to be ratified before the April elections.
We hope now that lawmakers will be able to assess the ratification bill in more freely now that the elections are over.