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Floor leaders gear up for June session

The floor leaders of the ruling Grand National Party and the main opposition Democratic Party met to discuss contentious issues prior to the National Assembly’s June session starting Wednesday.

Rep. Hwang Woo-yea, floor leader and acting party leader of the GNP, and Kim Jin-pyo of the DP on Monday sought agreement over pending problems, including the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement bill and a parliamentary investigation into the savings banks scandal.

They also exchanged opinions on the college tuition cut plan, which has recently become a hot potato.

“Let us focus on pending bills and budgets during this month’s session,” said Hwang.

“We should prove to the people that we did not spend the last year of the 18th assembly term idly.”

His counterpart said that the opposition camp will make bold compromises, should the ruling party stretch out a peaceful hand.

“This June provisional session is an opportunity for us to thoroughly look into issues which are close to the people’s hearts, such as the supplementary welfare budget and college tuition cuts,” Kim said.

Democratic Party leader Sohn Hak-kyu hosted a conference with university student council leaders in the morning to discuss tuition, following the GNP’s earlier moves to expand scholarships to low-income families.

The vice floor leaders of both parties met earlier this month to share and fine-tune their positions on other major issues ― the Korea-EU FTA, parliamentary advancement and judicial reform bills.

They, however, left the most controversial issue to the floor leaders.

The two parties especially logged horns over the ongoing turmoil over the savings banks fallout and corruption. While the DP urged immediate parliamentary investigation into government officials involved in the case, the ruling party refrained from taking an active stance on the issue.

The June provisional session, the first after both parties selected new floor leaders earlier this month, is scheduled to kick off with its initial regular session Wednesday, followed by the one-week parliamentary interpellation.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)
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