Rival parties at odds over bill on corruption probe agency

Dec 10, 2020, 08:26 am

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Photographed by Lee Byung-hwa

AsiaToday reporter Jeong Geum-min

Rival parties continued to clash over a bill on a new agency to investigate high-profile corruption on Wednesday, the last day of the regular session of the National Assembly. The main opposition People Power Party (PPP) requested a filibuster to block the passage of three contentious bills, including a revision to a law on establishing a new investigative body called the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials (CIO), a bill involving inter-Korean relations development and a bill concerning reforms to the intelligence agency.

The National Assembly passed 127 bills in the plenary session on Wednesday. However, the political situation immediately become chaotic as votes were delayed for highly contentious proposals due to fierce protect from the main opposition party.

First of all, the assembly failed to pass the CIO-related bill. Once a filibuster begins on a specific bill, the assembly cannot put the bill to the vote. Since every lawmaker is able to filibuster, PPP lawmakers are expected to take turns in continuing the floor debate through midnight, making the passage of bills within the legal deadline practically impossible. 

However, the opposition party cannot stop the bill from passing itself. In fact, the PPP’s unlimited debate is allowed until the end of the regular session, which expires on Wednesday. The bills that are suspended due to a filibuster will be automatically put to vote primarily in a new session.

Even during an extra session, the ruling bloc may stop the filibuster with a three-fifths majority vote. This means that the ruling party can unilaterally pass the CIO bill. 

In order to do so, the ruling Democratic Party had requested National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug to convene an extraordinary session on Thursday to complete the passage of the bill. Park accepted the request and announced Monday to hold the session. 

The PPP plans to inform the public about what they call the ruling party’s parliamentary dictatorship through the filibuster. Considering that a filibuster can be launched for each bill, it is highly likely that a filibuster will be launched every day for a while. 

“The CIO bill should be resubmitted to the Legislation and Judiciary Committee. The current revision bill has been unilaterally placed on the table without parliamentary process,” said PPP lawmaker Yoo Sang-beom.

#Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials #National Assembly #filibuster 
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