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Saenuri moves to revise National Assembly Act

The ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic Party are readying for a new round of battles over next year’s government budget and the so-called National Assembly advancement act.

The National Assembly advancement act, introduced last year, stipulates that tightly contested issues require the agreement of more than 60 percent of lawmakers. The clause, which was supported by Saenuri Party chairman Rep. Hwang Woo-yea and President Park Geun-hye, prevents the ruling party from pushing through legislation despite holding 155 of the 300 seats.

On Wednesday, Saenuri Party floor leader Rep. Choi Kyung-hwan said that a revised bill will be proposed in the near future as the act has been proven to be unsuitable to Korea due to the presence of an “obstinate opposition party.”

Choi’s call to revise the act was taken up by other lawmakers on Thursday.

“Despite the pure intentions of those who led the National Assembly advancement act who wanted to make a violence-free parliament, an act for incapacitating the National Assembly was made,” Saenuri Party deputy floor leader Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun said, adding that he and other lawmakers were misled.

“The assembly democracy that was twisted in April and May 2012 needs to be corrected. The National Assembly advancement act must be subjected to a complete review.”

The DP for its part hit back at the Saenuri Party, accusing it of trying to lay the groundwork for rushing through legislation.

“Saenuri Party’s move to revise the National Assembly advancement act is a recurrence of its snatch-instinct,” DP floor leader Rep. Jun Byung-hun said.

He added that introducing the National Assembly advancement act was the ruling party’s idea, and that the Saenuri Party is overreacting despite the act never having taken effect. 

“The Saenuri Party is responsible for stopping parliamentary investigations, hampering parliamentary audits and protecting the NIS. But, (the ruling party) is putting all the blame on the opposition party, and threatening and pressuring the opposition party.”

While a new row brews over the National Assembly Act, the DP is gearing up to make significant cuts to the government’s budget plans, particularly on funds allocated to what it calls “Park Geun-hye brand” projects. Projects that have been categorized as “Park Geun-hye brand” include the Saemaul Movement and the demilitarized zone peace park. The former has been allocated 22.7 billion won ($21.3 million), and the latter 40.2 billion won.

Other projects the DP plans to make significant cuts to include a number of creative economy-related programs and funding for the so-called “power organizations.” The power organizations refer to government organs with investigative powers including the National Intelligence Service, police and prosecution, and the National Tax Service.

By Choi He-suk (