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Main opposition party withdraws boycott, returning to parliament


The main opposition United Future Party (UFP) said Sunday that it will return to the National Assembly this week, ending a weekslong parliamentary deadlock over the organization of parliamentary standing committees.

"We'll let the ruling Democratic Party (DP) get all the chairmen posts of 18 standing committees," UFP floor leader Joo Ho-young said. "We will fight in the standing committees."

Since the new term started on May 30, the National Assembly has been at a standstill, as the two rival parties could not agree on how to distribute the 18 committee chairmen posts.

Both parties sought to take the legislation and judiciary committee, the gateway to the final plenary session.

Last week, as weekslong bipartisan negotiations yielded no results, the DP, which controls 176 out of the 300 assembly seats, pushed ahead with the voting to elect the chairmen of six committees, including those on finance, foreign affairs, health and defense affairs.

In protest, UFP lawmakers boycotted the voting and held a demonstration outside of the main assembly hall.

Meanwhile, the DP welcomed the UFP's decision to come back to the parliament but it is taking a cautious approach toward the opposition's intention.

"We welcome its return. It sounds like an unconditional return," said a senior official from the ruling party. "We need talks." (Yonhap)