First-term lawmakers all join ongoing PPP filibuster
More lawmakers from the main opposition party on Friday vowed to join the ongoing filibuster protesting the ruling party’s controversial bill to give police the power to investigate national security law violations.
All 58 first-term lawmakers of the People Power Party (PPP) will join the move to protest the bills, a group of them announced during a press conference at the National Assembly Friday morning.
According to the party sources, multi-term lawmakers are considering a plan to take turns after the first-term lawmakers complete their filibusters. If all 103 PPP lawmakers participate, the filibuster could continue through the end of the current extraordinary session, scheduled to end Jan. 10.
The PPP started the filibuster Thursday after the ruling Democratic Party (DP) submitted a bill to revise the National Intelligence Service (NIS) Act.
The PPP said the changes proposed by the DP actually create more problems.
The bill would take away the intelligence agency’s authority to investigate national security law violation cases, such as espionage. The bill would grant that power to the police, as well as the NIS’s authority to collect domestic information. The PPP said the changes will unnecessarily strengthen the police’s powers.
The bill also would allow the NIS to collect information on activities that with the potential to “disturb the economic order.” The PPP said the law revision would be too vague, and will open up the possibility of the NIS conducting massive surveillance operations that could target practically anyone.
The DP, which has 174 lawmakers, could move to end the filibuster. According to the National Assembly Act, a request to end a filibuster can be submitted to the National Assembly speaker when one-third of the lawmakers — or 100 — sign it. The request needs three-fifths of the 300-member National Assembly — or 180 lawmakers — to end a filibuster.
But the DP said Thursday that it won’t attempt to shut down the PPP’s filibuster. Instead, some DP lawmakers took turn to make public their rebuttals.
The longest filibuster in Korea’s history took place in 2016. At the time, 38 lawmakers with the DP — the opposition party at the time — staged a filibuster from Feb. 23 through March 2 to block a government-backed anti-terrorism bill. It took place for 192 hours and 25 minutes.
If the 58 first-term lawmakers of the PPP take turn to each speak for four hours for 10 days, the record will be easily broken.
As of 4 p.m. on Friday, Rep. Yoon Hee-sook of the PPP was filibustering against the bill, the fourth lawmaker to do so. Three DP representatives also took turns rebutting the PPP lawmakers earlier in the day.
BY SER MYO-JA, ESTHER CHUNG [email@example.com]