Big challenge to FTA fails

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Big challenge to FTA fails

The Constitutional Court ruled yesterday that the disputed Korea-U.S. free trade agreement submitted by the ruling party to the National Assembly for ratification in 2008 remains valid despite procedural violations, rejecting a petition by opposition lawmakers to nullify the bill.

Seven lawmakers from the opposition Democratic Party filed the petition with the court in December 2008, claiming that the parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee chairman infringed upon their voting rights by holding a meeting with only 11 ruling Grand National Party legislators to pass the FTA ratification motion and send it to a plenary session without opposition legislators’ participation.

While the majority of judges acknowledged that the committee violated due process, the court dismissed the petitioners’ request to repeal the bill in a 6-3 decision.

“The act of passing the motion ... has serious flaws,” the court said in a ruling.

“But the court dismisses the petition ... considering the post-procedure regarding the bill, the current situation and possibilities of [lawmakers] fixing procedural problems in the plenary session.”

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