Political parties launched a meeting Wednesday to discuss how to handle key bills designed to reform the prosecution amid partisan wrangling over the timing of their passage at parliament.
The controversial bills that were placed on the fast track in late April refer to proposals to set up an independent unit to probe corruption allegations by high-ranking public officials and to give more investigative authority to police.
The meeting brought together the floor leaders of the ruling Democratic Party and two opposition parties and officials from each party.
After roughly sitting on the post, former Justice Minister Cho Kuk abruptly resigned Monday after weeks of street rallies for and against him dominated central Seoul.
Cho, a key architect for President Moon Jae-in's drive to reform the prosecution, had unveiled a set of measures to reform the prosecution that focus on improving the practice of probes and prioritizing human rights. Opponents claimed he was not qualified for the job as his family has been under probe for allegations of financial and other problems.
The DP said the key to reforming the prosecution lies in setting up a new agency to probe public officials. But the main opposition Liberty Korea Party opposes the proposed establishment.
During the meeting, the parties reaffirmed their differences over the agency.
"It seems that the participants formed a broad consensus on how to adjust investigative power between prosecution and police. But there are still gaps over the issue of setting up the agency," Oh Shin-hwan, floor leader of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party, told reporters.
The ball is now passed to the National Assembly as rival parties are wrangling over when it will be possible for the bills to be put to a full vote.
A parliamentary standing committee needs to finish its review of the bills by Nov. 26.
The DP insists that as the legislation and judiciary committee, a key panel for the passage of bills, is in charge of reviewing those bills, it does not need to hold a separate session to change the wording of the proposals.
But the LKP opposes the passage of the proposals within this month, claiming that the panel should hold a 90-day review session.
Once a bill is put on a fast track, it can be automatically put to a vote at a plenary session even when relevant committees fail to deliberate or approve it within a given period. (Yonhap)