Stalemate postpones Assembly vote

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Stalemate postpones Assembly vote

Despite the agreement between the leadership of the ruling and opposition parties to approve the government restructuring plan yesterday, lawmakers remained deadlocked over the bills, leaving the Park Geun-hye administration in continuing limbo.

The ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic United Party struck a deal on Sunday to approve Park’s plan to restructure government ministries at a plenary session yesterday. Despite the arrangement, lawmakers of the two parties on the Culture, Sports, Tourism, Broadcasting and Communications Committee continued to fight yesterday over specifics of Park’s plan to create a ministry to integrate information, communications and technology policies, particularly the scope of the new ministry’s oversight of the broadcasting industry.

As they failed to agree on how to split the specific roles between the Ministry of Future Planning and Science and the Korea Communications Commission, the package of bills failed to advance to the Legislation and Judiciary Committee and then to the voting session as planned.

The voting session, scheduled to open at 2 p.m., was subsequently canceled.

At the committee meeting, lawmakers from the Saenuri Party argued that the Korea Communications Commission should be given the right to recommend who can operate terrestrial broadcasters and the future planning minister can make the final approval.

The Democratic United Party, however, said the commission should be given the final authority to issue new business permits, not the future planning ministry.

The DUP also said system operators of cable networks must obtain permission from the commission for not only operating their businesses but also making changes, but the Saenuri Party said that is not included in their Sunday agreement.

As the legislature failed to pass the government restructuring bills, the cabinet meeting, scheduled for today, was canceled.

At the National Assembly’s National Intelligence Committee, lawmakers approved a report on the confirmation hearing of Nam Jae-joon, a 68-year-old former Army chief of staff as the new head of the National Intelligence Service.

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

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