Main opposition steps up pressure over Sewol bill

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Aug 26, 2014 - 21:26
  • Updated : Aug 26, 2014 - 21:49
The National Assembly ground to a halt Tuesday with the main opposition party taking “extraordinary actions” over the disputed “special Sewol bill.”

Following a marathon general meeting of lawmakers on Monday, the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy opted to occupy a conference room at the National Assembly and to hold general meetings every day until Aug. 31.

In addition, NPAD interim leader Rep. Park Young-sun is leading a sit-in at the National Assembly and holding rallies to pressure the government and the ruling party, riled by the ruling party’s rejection of her proposal to form a three-way negotiation group on the Sewol bill.

At the rally held outside Cheong Wa Dae Park Young-sun called on President Park Geun-hye to communicate with the families of the victims of the April 16 ferry disaster. 
Lawmakers of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy hold a rally in front of Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Tuesday to ask President Park Geun-hye to help enact a new special law on the investigation into the Sewol ferry disaster. (Yonhap)

“The president meeting who she wants to when she wants to, this is not communicating with the people,” Park Young-sun said.

Saying that the Sewol bill was “the most urgent issue regarding the livelihood of the people,” Park Young-sun added that the NPAD will take “extraordinary actions” to bring about its legislation.

“(The NPAD) will fight alongside the bereaved families and the people until the president and the Saenuri Party respond to the demand for uncovering the truth behind the Sewol tragedy.”

On Sunday, the NPAD proposed a three-way negotiation group that would bring the ruling and opposition parties together with representatives of victims’ families. The proposal, issued after the families rejected the compromise plan drawn up by the parties for the second time, was quickly dismissed by the Saenuri Party.

Under the most recent agreement reached on Aug. 19, the opposition party and victims’ families would have had more say in drawing up the list of candidates to lead the special counsel investigation than the ruling party.

The families and opposition parties are once again pushing to give the committee in charge of the issue investigative rights.

The ruling party, for its part, voiced concerns about the NPAD’s actions.

“It is highly worrisome that the opposition is taking a hard-line stance,” Saenuri Party floor leader Rep. Lee Wan-koo said.

Other ruling party lawmakers launched more direct attacks, referring to the NPAD as a “fourth-rate party.”

As the deadlock continues, the parliamentary audit of state organizations failed to materialize, throwing the National Assembly off schedule once again. The parties had agreed to hold the audit in two separate sessions for the first time this year. The first of the two sessions was scheduled to begin Tuesday.

By Choi He-suk (