The National Assembly is set to begin normal operations from Tuesday, with the floor leaders of the ruling and main opposition parties agreeing to elect chiefs of parliamentary committees.
On Monday, Saenuri Party floor leader Rep. Lee Wan-koo and his New Politics Alliance for Democracy counterpart Rep. Park Young-sun agreed to elect the chiefs of parliamentary committees and to complete constituting the assembly.
Under the agreement, the parliamentary audit of government agencies will be held in two 10-day sessions, from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4 and Oct. 1-10. The parties will revise the related regulations during the June session of the National Assembly.
Park said that parliamentary audits will be held in two separate sessions from now on, and that the exact timing of the audits can be altered according to conditions each year.
“Parliamentary audits will be conducted in August to enable the budget to be reviewed more thoroughly,” Lee said. He added that related laws must be modified to prevent organizations from being audited more than once.
Due to the changes, the Special Committee on Budget and Accounts will be convened more than twice during each National Assembly session.
Lee and Park also agreed to form a six-member committee for nominating the special auditor who will be in charge of monitoring activities of relatives of the president and high-level government officials.
The two floor leaders agreed to extend a number of special committees including those on the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and on the creative economy. In addition, a new special committee on improving inter-Korean relations headed by an NPAD lawmaker is to be established.
In addition, the parties agreed to hold Intelligence Committee meetings each time the National Assembly goes into session.
The parties, however, failed to agree on the issue of preventing Intelligence Committee members from holding posts on the committee, as suggested by the NPAD.
While Park described the Intelligence Committee-related development “a stepping stone” toward making the committee a “normal standing committee,” the Saenuri Party remains firm.
Lee said that the developments should be taken at face value, and that any changes to the Intelligence Committee must be preceded by a number of measures including tougher rules to ensure secrecy on part of committee members.
The two parties also put off discussing whether to establish multiple subcommittees for reviewing proposed bills.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)