DP to end legislative boycott and pass budget

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DP to end legislative boycott and pass budget

Lawmakers will finally get back to work next week after the Democratic Party yesterday agreed to end its legislative boycott and attend a full session of the National Assembly on Monday to vote on a series of urgent bills including next year’s budget, ending weeks of legislative inactivity.

The agreement - following a meeting between the Grand National Party’s floor leader, Representative Hwang Woo-yea, and his DP counterpart, Representative Kim Jin-pyo - came after the DP walked out of the Assembly in protest of the GNP’s ratification of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement on Nov. 22.

Debate on next year’s budget had been halted by the DP’s boycott, with the statutory deadline for budget deliberations coming and going on Friday. The Assembly has failed to approve the budget on time for the ninth consecutive year.

In addition to the budget, a series of bills aimed at protecting farmers and small business owners from possible losses from the implementation of the FTA will also be approved, the deputy floor leaders of the GNP and the DP said.

The two parties also agreed to confirm the nominations for two Supreme Court justices and for a Constitutional Court justice as soon as possible to fill vacancies in the judiciary.

Additionally, a special committee on political reform will start meeting to redraw electoral districts and revise campaign finance laws ahead of the April legislative elections. A proposal to introduce an open primary system will also be discussed.

Yesterday’s agreement between the GNP and DP floor leaders came after Speaker Park Hee-tae urged the parties earlier in the day to stop fighting and resume their work, saying that lawmakers must remember their priority to do the nation’s business instead of engaging in partisan confrontations.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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