Political confrontation over fast-track bills continues

Apr 29, 2019, 09:17 am

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DPK floor leader Rep. Hong Young-pyo (left image) and LKP floor leader Rep. Na Kyoung-won hold a separate emergency press conference at the National Assembly on April 28, 2019./ Photographed by Lee Byoung-hwa

By AsiaToday reporter Lim Yoo-jin

The confrontation between ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) over fast-tracking key reform bills deepened Sunday after violent clashes last Thursday and Friday.

There was no physical brawl on Sunday as the special committees on political reform and judiciary reform did not open a meeting at the National Assembly. However, tensions between the two sides continued as they warned each other of filing lawsuits.

DPK lawmakers had an internal debate mostly at the budget committee hall of National Assembly. The members of the special committees, who are in charge of discussing and passing the bills, prepared to convene for a meeting. The LKP was on the alert through the weekend. Divided into four teams, the LKP lawmakers took turns staging sit-in protests in front of a meeting room, where the special committees on political reform and judiciary reform convene, in order to block the committee members from opening a meeting to vote on whether to push the bills forward.

The DPK filed complaints Friday with the police against 18 LKP members, including its floor leader Rep. Na Kyoung-won, a special assistant, and a secretary, for using violence to block related National Assembly committees from holding meetings. The ruling party said it would file an additional lawsuit against some LKP lawmakers by submitting evidential materials. In response, the main opposition party filed a complaint on Saturday against 17 DPK members, including its floor leader Rep. Hong Young-pyo, of committing violence against those who staged a sit-in protest.

The leaders of the two rival parties were up against each other over counterclaims. “Until the passage of fast-track reform bills, we will accuse anyone who violates Assembly laws, no matter if he or she is a lawmaker, a special assistant, or a secretary,” said DPK floor leader Rep. Hong Young-pyo. “Everything is illegal, so we have no choice but to stop it. Legally, there is definitely no problem,” said LKP floor leader Rep. Na Kyoung-won. “We will not stop the struggle even if all of the LKP lawmakers are under accusations.”

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