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[Newsmaker] Speaker okays change of judiciary reform panel member amid political turmoil

National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang on Thursday approved a minor opposition party's plan to replace its member on the special parliamentary committee on judiciary reform, a crucial move in efforts to fast-track a relevant bill.

Earlier in the day, the center-right Bareunmirae Party sent a document by fax to Moon suggesting Rep. Oh Shin-hwan be replaced by his party colleague Rep. Chae Yi-bae as a member of the committee. 

National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang (Yonhap)
National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang (Yonhap)

Moon signed it without hesitation while in bed, as he was hospitalized for hypoglycemia-caused shock a day earlier following a verbal battle with protesting lawmakers of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party.

In a package deal that excludes the LKP, the ruling Democratic Party and three minor opposition parties including Bareunmirae agreed Monday to expedite the handling of three bills on electoral reform, creating an independent probe unit on corruption by high-ranking government officials and adjusting the investigative and indictment authority of the police and prosecution.

But the National Assembly descended into chaos two days later after Oh declared he would vote against the fast-tracking of the investigative unit bill.

Oh's stance on the matter was apparently critical in the panel, as he held a de-facto casting vote -- the LKP has seven out of the panel's 18 members, and consent from 11 of them is needed to put the bill on the fast track. (Yonhap)

Korea Herald daum