In poll, 67.7% wants non-Sewol bills to be passed

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In poll, 67.7% wants non-Sewol bills to be passed

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A little more than half of respondents questioned in a recent poll said that the ruling and opposition parties should return to the negotiating table to reach a compromise on the specifics of a special Sewol law that would meet demands of the affected families.

In a survey of 1,000 adults nationwide conducted by the JoongAng Ilbo, those who opposed a renegotiation of the bill - which would investigate the root cause of the Sewol ferry disaster and the government’s poor response to the sinking - accounted for 46.1 percent, just minimally outnumbered.

In the phone survey, conducted from Tuesday and Wednesday, 51.5 percent of respondents said the ruling Saenuri Party and the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) should try in their third attempt to produce an agreement on the law that is acceptable to the victims’ families, despite the fact that the NPAD has already reneged on two previous deals due to the relatives’ objections.

While more than half of the respondents called for a renegotiation, 46.1 percent said the two should stick to the original agreement and push forward with the law regardless of the families’ hesitance toward it.

On whether the NPAD should return to the National Assembly and legislate bills unrelated to the Sewol law, such as economic stimulus measures, 67.7 percent said that pending bills should be passed regardless of the stalemate over the Sewol special law, while 30.6 percent said no bill should be voted on until the gridlock is resolved.

Though a higher number of people said the two parties should renegotiate the terms of the law, 50.4 percent of those surveyed opposed a trilateral consultative body involving the two parties and the bereaved families, while 46.4 percent supported three-way talks.

The not so favorable public view toward a trilateral meeting is a small blow for the main opposition, as some of its members are staging a sit-in protest to demand the Saenuri accept its proposal to launch such a discussion.

In response to NPAD Rep. Moon Jae-in’s hunger strike, in line with the families’ cause, 64.8 percent said he should stop fasting, while 32.6 percent supported his actions.

On whether President Park Geun-hye should meet with the parents of the teenage victims, who have camped out near the Blue House for a week demanding her attention, opinion was evenly split, 49.5 percent to 49.5 percent. Percentages in the survey tended to differ significantly depending on where a respondent resided. Those surveyed in the Jeolla area, a traditional stronghold for the NPAD, 71.8 percent were in favor of the parents meeting with the president.

However, in Daegu and North Gyeongsang, the Saenuri’s support base, 71.6 percent said Park should not grant their request.

The regional variations are likely indicative of political leanings as well as the political sensitivities surrounding the issue and how it should be resolved.

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

BY KANG TAW-HWA, KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]












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