DP ends boycott of Assembly work

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DP ends boycott of Assembly work

The largest opposition party decided yesterday to end its three-day legislative boycott and go back to work at the National Assembly starting today.

Lawmakers of the Democratic Party participated in a three-hour meeting yesterday morning to discuss the party’s next course of action to challenge the Park Geun-hye administration and the ruling Saenuri Party over a series of political scandals.

Earlier this week, the party wrapped up 101 days of street protests and returned to the National Assembly. But its lawmakers have boycotted legislative sessions for the past three days.

The party is protesting the government’s handling about allegations that government agencies interfered in last year’s presidential election campaign. One of those agencies was the National Intelligence Service, and the DP wants it overhauled.

The Democrats will attend President Park Geun-hye’s speech at the National Assembly scheduled for Monday, but a DP official said the party may return to its boycott if her speech ignores their concerns.

“The lawmakers who spoke at the meeting said the current situation is dire because the Park administration broke election pledges, ruined the economy for the working class and destroyed democracy,” Representative Chung Ho-joon, a DP spokesman, said at a briefing about the lawmakers’ meeting. “Various efforts to resolve the situation were proposed.”

Chung said the DP lawmakers agreed that they will thoroughly scrutinize all bills and the government’s plan for next year’s budget, hinting at rockiness in the upcoming legislative sessions.

“Most of all, we agreed that the president’s resolution is the most important thing needed to end this twisted situation,” Chung said. “The DP requests the president once again to make clear her position on our three demands before she addresses the National Assembly on Monday.”

The DP demanded an independent counsel investigation into the National Intelligence Service and other government agencies’ alleged smear campaigns against its candidate during last year’s presidential campaign.

It also wants a special committee inside the National Assembly to reform the NIS. Its third demand is that the president fulfill all her campaign promises.

The Democrats joined with other liberal politicians and civic groups to launch a political alliance on Tuesday to demand a special prosecutor for the election scandal. While the former head and senior officials of the NIS are currently on trial, allegations have been made recently that other government offices, including the Cyber Warfare Command of the military, were engaged in similar smear campaigns against the DP during the election.

The Democratic Party will also introduce resolutions to dismiss Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-an and NIS chief Nam Jae-joon to the National Assembly next week, a party official said.

The ruling Saenuri Party said yesterday that it cannot accept the DP’s demand for an independent counsel, but it is willing to negotiate about the special committee to reform the National Intelligence Service.

Chung agreed that the DP is willing to talk about reforming the NIS through a special committee.

BY SER MYO-JA [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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