Assembly Boycott Set

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Assembly Boycott Set

Opposition Bitter on Impeachment Bill

After the bill to impeach the prosecutor general and his deputy was prevented from being introduced at the National Assembly by the ruling Millennium Democratic Party, the opposition Grand National Party decided to boycott the legislative session Monday.

The length of its boycott was uncertain on Sunday.

The bill failed because no action was taken on it within 72 hours after it was presented - partly because ruling party lawmakers physically prevented the Speaker, Lee Man-sup, from entering the chamber on Friday. Mr. Lee was later criticized by both the ruling and opposition parties.

The ruling party announced that it plans to have a moratorium on processing legislative tasks. It said it would not hold legislative sessions unless the opposition participates.

The ruling party also proposed putting a stop to political bickering until February, by which time its reform programs are supposed to be completed.

Because of the partisan confrontation over the impeachment bill, the National Assembly's approval of the 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion) public spending bill to complete the corporate restructuring process appears highly unlikely, analysts say. (Related article, Page 4.)

The Grand National Party called the cancellation of the impeachment bill a "political farce" engineered by the Blue House, the ruling party and the Speaker. It demanded an official apology from President Kim Dae-jung addressed to the Korean people.

The opposition party asserted that the impeachment bill has effectively passed and that the prosecutor general and his deputy should resign or else President Kim should force them out of office. It said that, once its boycott ends, it intends to propose a motion to recommend that the Speaker also resign and to reintroduce the impeachment bill.

If legislative law prevents it from presenting the same bill in the same legislative session, the party said it will present the bill at the next session, which convenes late in December.

Suh Young-hoon, chairman of the ruling party, urged at a news conference Sunday that the opposition stop what he called a political offensive.

As for his party's forceful interruption to prevent the impeachment bill from being introduced on the parliamentary floor, Mr. Suh said it was necessary to block the opposition's move since it was unjustified.

by Park Sung-woo

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