Assembly feud deepens after Park veto [2015/07/08 10:11]

Political disarray at the National Assembly persisted over the weekend as the main opposition party Sunday repeated calls to hold a revote on controversial parliamentary amendments that President Park Geun-hye vetoed last week. The rival ruling Saenuri Party, for its part, remained engulfed in internal confusion over Park`s apparent push for its floor leader to resign.

The New Politics Alliance for Democracy continued to blast at the ruling party for succumbing to Cheong WaDae`s “dictatorship,” citing the Saenuri Party`s decision to refuse the revote “in respect to the president`s veto” over the revisions. The revisions, which could have given lawmakers authority to request changes to government decrees, violated the principle of checks and balances, Park had said.

In-house feuding continued to escalate at the Saenuri Party posing Park loyalists against sympathizers of Saenuri Party floor leader Rep. YooSeong-min.

The pro-Park members stepped up their demand for the resignation of Yoo, who reluctantly agreed to the president`s veto. Yoo had agreed to sponsor the amendments as part of a legislative deal with the NPAD, which agreed to vote on the public service pension reforms, a bill that the main opposition had formerly opposed. President Park had criticized Yoo for the logrolling scheme.

“People in support of the position of Cheong WaDae are set on taking Yoo down from his post no matter what it takes,” a Saenuri Party lawmaker was quoted as telling Yonhap News on Saturday. “The president`s demand, in simpler words, was that since Yoo is no better than a traitor, he should step down from his post and quit politics.”

On Thursday, Park vetoed the Assembly Law revision and sharply denounced the legislation, saying that the lawmakers were attempting to challenge the government`s administrative power. She also singled out Yoo for a betrayal that should be judged by voters in the next election.

The main opposition party criticized Park`s statements against Yoo. “Each and every lawmaker is a constitutional organ,” Rep. Moon Jae-in, the NPAD`s chair, said later Sunday. “Intervening in parliamentary politics and exerting pressure on (Yoo) to resign and apologize is nonsense,” Moon added.

NPAD floor leader Rep. Lee Jong-kul expressed his party`s determination to “do everything” it could to hold the revote, saying it would take priority over other pending high-profile bills. “Right now, putting the amendment to a revote at the plenary session on July 1, is extremely important,” Lee said. “We will do our best to make that happen at our meetings with Saenuri Party officials (this week).”

To put the legislation to a revote this Wednesday, the main opposition party needs the approval of the majority Saenuri Party. If the ruling party refuses, the NPAD must get a nod from National Assembly Speaker Rep. Chung Ui-hwa.

But NPAD officials cast doubt on the likelihood of either, throwing jibes at the accentuated power struggle at the Saenuri Party. “I have to say at this point that (the NPAD) would prefer a Park loyalist as a negotiating partner, rather than having Rep. Yoo,” the NPAD`s chief deputy floor leader Rep. Lee Choon-suak said later Sunday.

“Having a Park loyalist (as a negotiating partner) would mean we won`t have to worry about them saying one thing and changing it the next time after we seal a deal,” Lee said, adding that a Park loyalist would be in constant contact with Cheong WaDae officials over controversial legislation. “We would be able to negotiate with the person who is really in charge, the president,” he added.

The NPAD also remained pessimistic about the possibility of the bill actually going up for a vote at the decision of the Assembly speaker, a former member of the Saenuri Party. “(Speaker) Chung will keep the bill pending, citing the lack of any agreement between us and the ruling party over the amendments,” Lee said.

“I suspect that the speaker will use the Saenuri Party`s refusal as an excuse to keep the bill from a revote, holding out until this parliamentary session ends on July 6,” he added.
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