Super subs

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Super subs

We welcome the decision by the ruling and opposition parties to establish standing subcommittees in the National Assembly.

Negotiation bodies reached an agreement on Tuesday on the organization of the National Assembly, and the last clause of the agreement stipulates that standing subcommittees will be introduced to open the Assembly throughout the year and to help invigorate the performance of the legislature.

The National Assembly has had standoffs in the past, or legislators have been so busy fighting with one another that they neglected their primary tasks and responsibilities.

Establishing standing subcommittees is an epoch-making reform measure that can quickly resolve these problems, if implemented properly.

The National Assembly has already drawn up the National Assembly law to establish 10-year standing subcommittees. However, only three committees - for budget and accounts, bills and petitions - are operating.

There is no standing subcommittee specializing in concrete policies or related laws because the government and the ruling party oppose the idea. The government doesn’t like the idea because government officials need to attend the National Assembly more often if there are standing subcommittees.

In a subcommittee, members can have more detailed debates than in the Assembly plenary session or general meetings of standing committees. When legislators question the administration in the plenary session, they call in government ministers and lecture them at length.

In standing committees, dozens of legislators take turns to give speeches. In a subcommittee, a small number of legislators specializing in specific fields gather at any time and study a single issue in depth. If subcommittees perform well, the National Assembly will be open all year around and thus there will be no standoffs.

The most important issue is the qualifications of subcommittee members. Instead of calling in ministers and deputy ministers to demonstrate their power and influence, the members of a subcommittee should call in heads of departments and have in-depth talks with working-level officials.

The chairmen of standing committees and the chairmen of subcommittees must not fight over power or interests. That would delay debates.

We hope legislators will make sure that the subcommittees operate the way they should.
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