NA speaker Moon Hee-sang to refer key reform bills to plenary session

Dec 16, 2019, 09:30 am

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National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang speaks at the National Assembly./ Photographed by Song Eui-joo

By AsiaToday reporter Lim Yoo-jin 

National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang is reportedly planning to refer fast-tracked reform bills to a plenary session on Monday for a vote, if three parliamentary negotiation groups involving the ruling Democratic Party (DP), the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and minor opposition Bareunmirae Party (BP) fail to produce a final agreement. 

Tensions between the rival parties remain high over a possible vote on the electoral and prosecutorial reform bills placed on fast track. The ruling DP is planning to push forward with its passage of fast-tracked bills in a plenary parliamentary session on Monday. On the other hand, the main opposition LKP is planning to block the passage of the bills, even if it has to filibuster. The National Assembly speaker plans to convene a meeting early Monday morning with the floor leaders of three parliamentary negotiation groups to discuss referring fast-tracked reform bills to the plenary session for a vote, however it remains uncertain whether the three parties will reach a consensus. 

“National Assembly speaker Moon said he would make efforts as much as possible so that the three parties reach an agreement. And if they fail to do so, he said he will immediately refer the bills for a vote on Monday,” a parliament official said on Sunday. The DP had requested to convene a plenary meeting on Monday and to introduce the fast-tracked reform bills to the floor during the Friday meeting, chaired by Moon, among floor leaders from the three parties. 

Moon maintains his opinion that the three parties should draw up an agreement in principle. However, if the parties fail to do so, Moon believes he has no choice but to refer the fast-tracked bills for a vote. 

Moon said he would not allow the filibuster applied by the LKP over the period of holding a provisional session of the National Assembly. He believes the LKP should follow the National Assembly Law, which would not allow filibusters over the period of provisional session of the Assembly.

“Initially, LKP Rep. Shim Jae-chul had suggested that every two floor leaders discuss the pros and cons for five minutes during a meeting of floor leaders. However, the LKP applied for a filibuster afterwards,” a parliamentary official said. “As he suggested the five-minute pros-and-cons discussion, everyone accepted it as they will not have unlimited discussion. However, the main opposition party suddenly requested a filibuster.”

Moon has reportedly expressed his frustration several times over the situation of the National Assembly. 

DP Floor Leader Lee In-young told reporters on Sunday that his party will keep the door open for dialogue with the LKP, but it cannot help but make a decision and prepare for the passage of the reform bills.

“We will call a plenary parliamentary session again on Monday,” Lee said. “We will prepare a final single plan involving not only the election reform bill, but also the prosecution reform bill, so it can be put to a vote at the plenary session.” Regarding the plenary session, Lee said, “If the LKP does not withdraw its filibuster plan, it will be difficult to handle bills related to people’s livelihoods.”

#Moon Hee-sang #National Assembly #plenary session #fast-tracked bills 
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