Park to meet with 3 floor leaders

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Park to meet with 3 floor leaders

President Park Geun-hye will meet with the floor leaders of the three main political parties on Friday, in an effort to obtain the cooperation of the National Assembly regarding key issues, as her Saenuri Party will no longer have the majority.

“President Park, floor leaders and chief policymakers of the three parties will meet at the Blue House at 3 p.m. on Friday,” Chung Jin-suk, the newly elected floor leader of the Saenuri Party, said Tuesday. “It will be a meaningful time to jointly and widely explore plans to cooperate on state affairs including the people’s livelihoods.”

After the April 13 general election, the Saenuri Party, the Minjoo Party of Korea and the newly founded People’s Party selected new floor leaders and chief policymakers. Saenuri floor leader Chung and chief policymaker Rep. Kim Gwang-lim will attend the meeting on Friday.

Rep. Woo Sang-ho, floor leader of the Minjoo and the party’s to-be-named chief policymaker, will also join the meeting, as will the People’s Party floor leader Rep. Park Jie-won and chief policymaker Kim Song-sik.

During the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Park also expressed her anticipation for the upcoming talks. “I hope the government and the new floor leaders will be able to achieve politics that best serve the people’s will through dialogue and compromise,” she said.

A senior Blue House official said the economy will be the president’s top priority during her meeting with the floor leaders. “We expect to discuss the North Korean nuclear crisis, particularly the nuclear issue under the Kim Jong-un regime, cooperative measures to run the country and the future schedule of meeting with the ruling and opposition parties’ leaders.”

After the Saenuri Party’s humiliating defeat in the general election, Park told chief editors of news media on April 26 during a presidential luncheon that she will meet with heads of the three parties soon after she comes back from her trip to Iran early this month. The Saenuri Party, however, remains headless, after Chairman Kim Moo-sung stepped down from the post to take responsibility for the defeat. The Saenuri Party not only lost its majority, but was also reduced to being the second-largest party.

The Minjoo Party, despite its victory, is under the interim leadership. Its acting chairman, Kim Chong-in, who will step down from the post at the end of August or early September. The People’s Party, for the time being, is maintained by two co-chairmen, Ahn Cheol-soo and Chun Jung-bae.

The 20th National Assembly will start its term at the end of this month, and Park apparently chose to meet with the floor leaders first in order to seek the lawmakers’ cooperation on state affairs. Although Park said she is willing to consider meeting the party leaders on a regular basis, a presidential source said Tuesday that she would meet them whenever necessary, rather than setting up a fixed schedule.

At the upcoming meeting, Park is expected to push for the National Assembly to pass a series of bills that will overhaul the rigid labor market and service industry. The bills were moved forward during the 19th National Assembly, but were never passed.

Park’s request to the legislature to water-down the tough anti-corruption law, in order to minimize its negative impact on domestic spending, is also expected to be addressed, as well as industrial restructuring issues.

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

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