President to seek support for his new budget plan

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President to seek support for his new budget plan

President Moon Jae-in is scheduled to visit the National Assembly today to give an address asking the ruling and opposition parties to support his major policies, including a supplementary budget plan to create jobs.

Moon is the first president to address the lawmakers to explain a supplementary budget proposal. “The president will us the speech to explain in detail where the supplementary budget will be spent,” a presidential aide said Sunday.

The speech is also taking place amid the deadlock between the ruling and opposition parties over Moon’s key nominees. “Before giving the speech, he will meet with leaders of the main parties at the speaker’s office, and he may ask their cooperation for the nomination crisis,” the aide said.

Hearings have taken place for Kang Kyung-wha, nominated to become the country’s first female foreign minister, Kim Sang-jo, tapped to head the Fair Trade Commission, and Kim Yi-su, nominated as the chief justice of the Constitutional Court. Opposition lawmakers, however, refused to confirm them, questioning their fitness for the jobs.

Moon can still appoint them without the legislature’s endorsement, but this would likely bring about political repercussions in the opposition-controlled National Assembly ahead of voting on sensitive plans, including the supplementary budget bill.

The National Assembly’s special committee on confirmation hearing and National Policy Committee are scheduled to have meetings today to discuss the nominees.

Three main opposition parties said they will not endorse Kang as the new foreign minister, despite the Blue House and the ruling party’s appeals. The Liberty Korea, People’s and Bareun parties said Kang has ethical flaws and she lacks the needed abilities for the position. Meanwhile, 10 foreign ministers of previous administrations, both liberal and conservative, recently issued a joint statement supporting Kang.

Regarding Kim Sang-jo, the Liberty Korea Party does not support him as the new head of the Fair Trade Commission and has even refused to stage a vote, while the Bareun Party and the People’s Party said they are willing to put it to a vote, although they do not support him, either.

As for Kim Yi-su, the Liberty Korea Party and the Bareun Party said they oppose him as the new head of the Constitutional Court, while the People’s Party said it will hold a general assembly of lawmakers to decide its stance.

“If Moon goes ahead and names Kang and Kim Sang-jo, that will be the end of legislative cooperation,” Rep. Chung Woo-taik, floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, told the JoongAng Ilbo. The conservative party controls 107 seats in the 299-member National Assembly. “In case of Kim Yi-su, our lawmakers will vote against him.”

Later this week, the National Assembly will hold more confirmation hearings for Moon’s four minister nominees. All of them are lawmakers of the Democratic Party.

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

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