No time to wasteThe National Assembly’s special session has started but lawmakers seem uninterested. On April 1, the first day of the session, ordinary tasks were conducted: The National Assembly listened to the administration’s speech on the supplementary budget bill and dealt with bills that had not been processed in the earlier special session in February.
But yesterday, there was no special schedule. The session was adjourned after just one day. On April 3, there is no schedule for standing committees. In fact, only a special committee meeting is planned to look into low birth rates and Korea’s aging society. It seems that standing committees will start working the week after, from April 13 at the earliest.
The National Assembly must not sit idle like this. It must work hard to overcome the economic crisis. The current National Assembly must look at the supplementary budget as soon as possible in order to create jobs and stimulate the economy.
A general meeting to handle the supplementary budget is scheduled for April 29 but neither the ruling nor the opposition parties look like they are rushing to initiate negotiations. They tend to excuse themselves by claiming they have run out of time, but when they have time, they don’t meet.
This practice must end.
National Assembly representatives these days don’t seem able to focus on their duties, largely because of the by-elections on April 29, which are causing tensions to rise in all political camps, and due to the investigation on Taekwang Industrial Chairman Park Yeon-cha - prosecutors have summoned several lawmakers in connection with the so-called Park Yeon-cha list of alleged bribe recipients.
Lawmakers are worried about the two issues because the by-elections will define the dynamics inside the political parties and the Park Yeon-cha scandal might ruin a few political careers.
The point is, though, that we should not let the special session drift because of external influences. The fact that the special session was adjourned right after it opened without dealing with any significant matters suggests that outside factors are affecting the way lawmakers think.
Regarding the Park scandal, the opposition party is already calling for an independent prosecutor, but it is wrong for the National Assembly to step in when prosecutors are in the middle of an investigation. The Assembly can address any problems with the investigation later.
Lawmakers must do their duty when the National Assembly is open.