Sluggish Assembly faces hurdle after normalization

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jun 24, 2014 - 21:11
  • Updated : Jun 24, 2014 - 21:11
The two main political parties on Tuesday named chiefs of the 18 parliamentary committees, normalizing operations 25 days into the second half of the 19th National Assembly.

Of the 18 committees, 10, including those on defense and the economy, and the special committees on budget and ethics, are headed by ruling Saenuri Party lawmakers. The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy will fill eight committee chiefs’ posts including those of the legislation, welfare, and trade and industry committees.

However, the parliament’s operations are expected to be far from smooth with the parties likely to clash head-on over the confirmation hearings of ministerial candidates, issues surrounding the April 16 ferry disaster and revisions to the Government Organization Act.

On Tuesday, Cheong Wa Dae submitted requests for confirmation hearings on eight candidates for minister-level posts including the Saenuri Party’s Rep. Choi Kyung-hwan, who has been tapped for the post of deputy prime minister for economic affairs.

With the Personnel Hearing Act dictating that hearings must be completed within 20 days of the requests being filed, the two parties’ floor leaders will now hammer out the details including the schedule.

Although the controversy-ridden Moon Chang-keuk withdrew as the Prime Minister-designate on Tuesday, the NPAD is not letting up the pressure over President Park Geun-hye’s personnel management.

“Moon’s withdrawal should be a turning point for normalizing President Park Geun-hye’s abnormal personnel selection,” NPAD spokesman Park Gwang-on said. He also called on the president to overhaul her plans for the Cabinet reshuffle and to apologize to the public for the related developments.

“(President Park) should recognize that the people’s will is that there should be appropriate measures taken against Chief of Staff Kim Ki-choon, who is in charge of recommending and vetting candidates.”

Of the eight, the main opposition has honed in on Lee Byung-kee, the nominee for chief of the National Intelligence Service, and Kim Myung-soo, who has been tapped to lead the Ministry of Education. Kim will also fill a new deputy prime minister’s post that will be created through the revision of the Government Organization Act. Lee has been implicated in a number of irregularities including an illegal political funding scandal, while Kim is accused of plagiarizing a thesis written by a student.

By Choi He-suk (