Reform bill left pending as meeting is postponed

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Reform bill left pending as meeting is postponed

A cabinet meeting scheduled to be hosted by President Park Geun-hye today was postponed until Thursday, the Blue House said on Monday.

“Because the National Assembly is holding hearings with government [ministers] to question them over state affairs, the cabinet meeting was postponed,” presidential spokesperson Min Kyung-wook said.

The cabinet meeting takes place every Tuesday, chaired either by the president or the prime minister. Park was scheduled to host this week’s meeting, for which speculation was high that she would veto the National Assembly’s latest revision to the law governing the legislature. The change would allow lawmakers to demand the government amend certain kinds of administrative legislation.

However, calling the revision “unconstitutional,” Park has vowed to veto it. The revision was passed on May 29, along with a series of other bills. The ruling party agreed to the revision as part of a political deal with the main opposition to pass a plan to overhaul the pension program for civil servants.

After slightly modifying the wording of the revision to the law governing the legislature on June 15, attempting to lessen Park’s disapproval, the National Assembly sent the bill to the government later that day for her signature.

However, the Blue House said the last-minute fine-tuning of the revision appeared to have little effect on her decision to veto it. She has 15 days to decide whether to strike down the bill. If she were to veto the bill, she would need to make the decision during the cabinet meeting.

But it remains to be seen if Park will veto the bill at Thursday’s rescheduled gathering. Min said Monday that the agendas for the upcoming cabinet meeting have not been finalized. If Park vetoes the bill, it will go back to legislature, and National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa has already said he will put the revision up for another vote. A two-thirds vote can overturn a presidential veto.

When the legislature passed the revision last month, 211 lawmakers - more than two-thirds of the 298 sitting members in the legislature - approved it.

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

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