Saenuri aims to get rid of brawl law

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Saenuri aims to get rid of brawl law

The ruling Saenuri Party yesterday began looking for ways to have the law enacted last year to end the embarrassing fisticuffs and brawls in the legislature declared unconstitutional. It refers to the National Assembly Act Article 85, widely dubbed ““National Assembly advancement law.”

“We have been reviewing the unconstitutionality of the law and the possibility of lodging an appeal against it,” said Choi Kyung-hwan, floor leader of the party, in a meeting yesterday. “We have reached the conclusion its unconstitutionality is clear.”

He said the bill is “hurting the procedural democracy and the principle of majority rule, forcing into limbo a series of bills dedicated to reviving the economy.”

The party said it wants to amend the law after it is declared unconstitutional. “The National Assembly has turned into a vegetable with the opposition wielding full power,” Choi said.

The law was approved at the last plenary session of the 18th National Assembly in 2012. It was meant to prevent physical altercations on the Assembly floor when the ruling party used its majority to push bills into law. It went into effect on May 30, 2012.

The law was inspired by the particularly intense violence between ruling and opposition lawmakers over bills passed in December 2010. Opposition lawmakers claimed that the ruling party used its majority rule to railroad through bills without any attempt at compromise. They resisted passage with violence, which became known as the Korean filibuster.

But even ruling party lawmakers began to feel the heat from constituents embarrassed by the fights in the Assembly. President Park Geun-hye, then interim head of the Saenuri Party, made it clear that the bill had to be approved, as public criticism over the failure to reach agreement on the “anti-fight bill” had become intense.

Under the law, the Assembly speaker’s right to put a bill to a vote is limited, preventing the forced passage of bills by the majority party. On disputed bills, three fifths or more of the lawmakers should agree to introduce the bill for a main vote.

If an appeal is made to the Constitutional Court, a ruling would take at least six months.


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