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Published : 2016-05-24 17:27
Updated : 2016-05-24 18:42

The government and ruling party stepped up their moves to dissect and deter an eleventh-hour bill that will allow parliamentary committees to call for public hearings on a wider range of issues.

While Cheong Wa Dae pondered whether to exercise the presidential veto, the ruling conservative Saenuri Party claimed Tuesday that the given bill would lose effect upon the end of the current parliamentary term if it fails to be supported by the government.

“We will thoroughly review the possible negative impacts such frequent public hearings may exert on the people and on state affairs,” a Cheong Wa Dae official said.

Cheong Wa Dae considers veto of hearing bill

Last Thursday, the parliament passed a revision bill of the National Assembly Act to permit parliamentary committees to call for a public hearings to deliberate and investigate any key agenda. The current law limits such calls to cases related to law revisions or state audits.

The expanded Assembly authority has been pushed by the opposition camp which, as a result of the April 13 general election, has come to account for a parliamentary majority in the incoming term.

The bill was handed over to the presidential office on Monday for final approval, a process during which the president may wield the constitutional right of veto. The Blue House, citing excessive rights of the legislature, tossed it to the Ministry of Government Legislation for legitimacy review.

Meanwhile, Saenuri lawmaker Rep. Kim Jin-tae, member of the parliamentary legislation and judiciary committee, claimed that the veto is not even necessary as the bill, if it does not get presidential endorsement, is to be automatically discarded.

“A bill, even one approved by the Assembly, is automatically thrown away if it fails to be proclaimed within the given parliamentary term,” Kim told reporters in a text message sent out Tuesday.

The current 19th National Assembly is to end on May 29, making way for the new 20th term, which is to kick off on the following day.

President Park Geun-hye is set to depart Wednesday for a 12-day state visit to three African states and France, adding weight to Kim’s assertion.

But the opposition pointed out that if the Saenuri lawmaker’s claim turns out to be true, it would mean all of the other bills passed last Thursday are bound to be discarded as well.

The scenario further lost momentum as the Ministry of Government Legislation referred to the case of former President Lee Myung-bak who had endorsed several bills after the termination of a parliamentary term. In 2012, as the 19th National Assembly kicked off, Lee promulgated 28 bills earlier approved by the previous parliament, ministry data showed.

The opposition camp, as well as parliamentary Speaker Chung Ui-hwa who put the bill to floor vote, expressed regret over the president’s dissent to the hearing bill.

“It is pitiful that Cheong Wa Dae should be considering a veto on a (legitimate) bill,” Chung told reporters Tuesday.

The speaker, whose Saenuri affiliation is held off due to his position, earlier announced that he would not return to the party after his term ends.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)