Ending months of bitter political confrontation, South Korea's rival parties on Tuesday reached a compromise on a controversial bill aimed at parsing the truth behind April's deadly ferry sinking.
South Korea's parliament has been stuck in limbo as the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition New Political Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) remained locked in a bitter dispute over the terms of the proposed bill that, among other things, would set the boundaries of an independent counsel probe of the sinking of the ferry Sewol, which left more than 300 people killed or missing, most of them high school students.
Right after the compromise, the main opposition party agreed to allow its more than 130 lawmakers to attend a special parliamentary session called by the ruling party to handle dozens of bills, including some aimed at reviving the slumping economy.
The ferry sinking has long become a political issue in South Korea, with critics arguing that the government's poor initial response to the disaster contributed to the high death toll.
The breakthrough came when the floor leaders of the two parties, Lee Won-koo from Saenuri and Park Young-sun from the NPAD, met and agreed on ways to guarantee the independence and fairness of an independent counsel probe.