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Speaker proposes roundtable on economy

As the parliament remains deadlocked over disagreement on an opposition party’s demand to hold a hearing on the economy, National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang has proposed a roundtable instead.

At a meeting with floor leaders on Tuesday, Moon suggested that lawmakers and nongovernment experts discuss the country’s economic situation and seek ways to improve it during a roundtable, an attendee of the meeting said Wednesday.

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party insists that a parliamentary hearing be held before it starts to review the government’s 6.7 trillion-won extra budget bill.

The ruling Democratic Party has argued that the hearing would waste time as the extra budget should be passed urgently.

On Wednesday, Bareunmirae Party Floor Leader Rep. Oh Shin-hwan demanded the Democratic Party accept Moon’s proposal.

“I, as well as Liberty Korea Party Floor Leader Na Kyung-won, have already agreed with Speaker Moon’s proposal,” Oh said during a meeting of his party’s supreme council.

“It would be self-contradictory if the ruling party, which keeps saying the extra budget bill must be passed urgently, shows a passive attitude (toward Moon’s proposal).”


Oh added that while the Liberty Korea Party continues to talk tough, he gets the impression that it is seeking an exit strategy, as it cannot continue with another protest outside the parliament.

“The Democratic Party should interpret this as a sign of change, and use its political power to allow the Liberty Korea Party to return to the National Assembly for the confirmation hearing,” he said.

“If the ruling party accepts the roundtable idea, it would be the right path for the Liberty Korea Party to attend the National Assembly without conditions and take part in discussions for parliamentary agenda, such as organizing the special committee on budget and accounts.”

Na said during Tuesday’s meeting that economic issues must be addressed and that her party could be flexible with regards to the timing, format and methods.

However, Democratic Party Floor Leader Lee In-young said Tuesday that even if a roundtable were necessary, it should be dealt with after the National Assembly is normalized.

“The hearing, or whichever format it is in, does not make sense at this time,” Lee said.

A parliamentary impasse has continued for over two months after the Democratic Party and three minor parties placed key reform bills on the fast track in April despite opposition from the Liberty Korea Party.

By Kim So-hyun (