|Democratic Party leaders attend the party’s supreme council meeting at the National Assembly on Monday. From left: supreme council member Rep. Shin Kyoung-min, party chairman Rep. Kim Han-gil and floor leader Rep. Jun Byung-hun. |
(Lee Gil-dong/The Korea Herald)
Top opposition leader Kim Han-gil announced a political reform plan Monday centered on reining in the privileges of lawmakers and making their incomes more transparent.
Kim of the main opposition Democratic Party made the announcement in a press conference at the National Assembly, saying he would push to enact a law against lawmakers’ abuse of power.
Both the ruling and opposition parties have vowed political reforms amid public criticism that corruption is widespread among politicians. The DP’s reform plan comes as competition heats up ahead of the nationwide local elections in June.
Kim said his party will push to pass an anti-corruption bill that is currently pending in parliament during this month’s extra parliamentary session and apply the rules equally to lawmakers.
The actual bill calls for punishing public officials who are caught taking money or valuables in connection with their work even if they were not in exchange for favors.
Kim also said he would introduce a recall system for lawmakers to allow voters to determine the fate of politicians accused of corruption.
The 12-point plan also includes the establishment of an independent parliamentary body tasked with overseeing lawmakers’ ethics and the enforcement of the proposed law against lawmakers’ abuse of power.
The reforms limit exchanges of money and gifts on special occasions to below a certain value, and require lawmakers to report the details of their overseas business trips and the execution of their budget.
The ruling Saenuri Party hailed the opposition party’s proposal but questioned the DP’s motives.
“The DP’s proposals have consistently been brought up within political circles and civic groups, so there’s no reason for the Saenuri Party to object,” said ruling party spokeswoman Min Hyun-joo. “We will make efforts to rectify bad practices as part of political reforms.”
However, she urged the opposition party to be sincere in its proposals, saying there are concerns that they were “improvised” in order to gain the upper hand against independent lawmaker Ahn Cheol-soo, who plans to establish a new party next month and field candidates in the upcoming elections. (Yonhap)