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Parliament fails to set up vote for disputed court nominee

South Korea's parliament failed Monday to set up a vote on the disputed Constitutional Court Chief nominee amid an opposition party's legislative boycott over an arrest warrant against the head of a local broadcaster.

Under a cross-party understanding last week, the National Assembly was set to vote on Kim Yi-su on the day. But the main opposition Liberty Korea Party opposed the vote with the splinter Bareun Party following suit. The People's Party, in turn, demanded the vote be postponed.

On Saturday, the LKP decided to boycott all parliamentary sessions in response to a court's recent issuance of a writ to detain Kim Jang-Kyom, the head of public broadcaster MBC, over alleged unfair labor practices. It claims the government is seeking to hold sway over the media.
 
This photo, taken June 8, 2017, shows Constitutional Court Chief nominee Kim Yi-su speaking during a parliamentary confirmation hearing at the National Assembly in Seoul. (Yonhap)
This photo, taken June 8, 2017, shows Constitutional Court Chief nominee Kim Yi-su speaking during a parliamentary confirmation hearing at the National Assembly in Seoul. (Yonhap)

"Pressing ahead with the vote (on Kim) when the main opposition party is absent is tantamount to a display of an intent to drive the parliament into a standoff," Chung Woo-taik, the LKP floor leader, told reporters.

Joo Ho-young, the floor leader of the Bareun Party, also voiced "strong" opposition to the voting, warning any unilateral passage of Kim's confirmation motion would spell trouble during the 100-day regular parliamentary session that began this month.

The voting procedure for Kim has been delayed for several months amid disputes over his 1980 ruling against a pro-democracy activist and his minority view against the 2014 disbandment of a far-left party with members accused of pro-North Korean activities.

Since 2012, Kim has served as part of the Constitutional Court's nine-member bench. In May, President Moon Jae-in nominated him for the top post that has been vacant after former Court Chief Park Han-chul retired in January.

His appointment requires consent from a majority of lawmakers present during a floor vote that can be set up by a majority of all 299 legislators. The ruling Democratic Party holds only 120 seats, necessitating opposition support. (Yonhap)
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