Published : 2013-12-03 21:56
Updated : 2013-12-03 22:31
Rival parties on Tuesday agreed to form special parliamentary committees on reforming the state spy agency and political procedures.
The ruling Saenuri Party and the opposition Democratic Party also agreed to normalize the National Assembly operations Wednesday and pass the government budget bill before the end of the year.
But they failed to reach consensus on the main opposition party’s demand for an independent investigation into the National Intelligence Service’s alleged meddling in last year’s presidential election.
The deal was clinched during a meeting of the chairmen and floor leaders of the two parties after the working day had ended.
The envisioned committee on NIS reform will be headed by an opposition lawmaker and will have the right to draw up and propose a legislative bill, according to the five-point joint statement announced by their spokespersons.
They also agreed on a set of key agenda for the committee, including tougher measures to prevent spy agents from interfering in politics and elections and enhancing the NIS’ capabilities for fighting terrorism, North Korea and cyber-attacks.
The political reform committee will largely concern the rules for local elections. They tentatively agree to ban political parties from nominating candidates for elections for governors and councilors in low-level administrative units. The panel will be headed by a Saenuri member.
Each of the two committees will consist of the same numbers of lawmakers from both parties, the spokesmen said.
The parties promised to pass bills related to the special bodies on Thursday.
The spokesmen said the party will also deal with the much-delayed government spending plan within the year and other pending bills as early as possible.
As for the stickiest issue of an independent probe into the NIS election interference allegations, they will further discuss “the timing and scope,“ according to the joint statement.
The agreement was reached at the third meeting of the party leaders.
Their negotiations began Monday after Saenuri Party chairman Rep. Hwang Woo-yea requested that the two sides meet without preconditions in an effort to end the DP’s boycott of the parliament.
The main opposition has been staging a boycott since Friday in protest of Saenuri Party unilaterally approving Hwang Chan-hyon’s nomination as the new chief of the Board of Audit and Inspection.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com)