Withdraw the bill, period

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Withdraw the bill, period

The National Assembly rubber-stamped a bill early Friday morning to revise legislative law to include a new authority to demand changes and moderation in presidential, prime ministerial and other independent government acts, while passing the contentious government employees’ pension reform bill. The presidential office condemned the sudden move and indicated President Park Geun-hye would veto the bill.

Legislative interference with administrative acts and ordinances goes against the constitutional principle of separating the three branches of the government. Senior presidential spokesman Kim Sung-woo said the authorization of legislative interference to review and change government ordinances infringes on judicial and executive powers.

Simply put, the National Assembly is overstepping its authority by placing legislated law above the country’s Constitution. The law also could cause contradictions with the Constitution. The Constitution stipulates the president can define the scope of a law and issue presidential orders to carry out necessary administrative legal procedures. It also stipulates that the prime minister and cabinet ministers can issue separate ordinances for related administrative affairs. The legislature would be limiting the administration’s exclusive authority if it demands the right to amend government decrees.

The way the National Assembly passed the bill also raises controversy. The revision was railroaded through an early morning extraordinary session vote on government employees’ pension reform. The main opposition, which threatened to boycott the vote by arbitrarily linking the reform outline with revisions in the Sewol ferry crisis act and resignation of the health minister, suddenly turned cooperative.

If some kind of legislative constraint over administrative decrees were necessary, it should have been properly addressed and debated before it was put to a vote. It raises questions about why legislators had to rush through a controversial bill in the wee hours.

The bill should be nullified and the legislature must use the proper procedure and discuss it with the government. JoongAng Ilbo, May 30, Page 30

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