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Parties fail to pass redrawn electoral map

All News 19:23 February 29, 2016

SEOUL, Feb. 29 (Yonhap) -- The ruling and opposition parties failed to pass a redrawn electoral map through the National Assembly Monday, as they are still at odds over an anti-terrorism bill, with the general elections less than two months away.

The major opposition Minjoo Party continued to stage a filibuster in protest of the anti-terrorism law, which the Saenuri and the Park Geun-hye government say is essential to better protect the lives of South Koreans from terrorist attack.

Eyes were on whether the two rival parties could come to a compromise Monday to pass a long-awaited bill on the redrawn electoral map, as April 13, the day of the general elections, is approaching.

The parliament's Security and Public Administration Committee passed the bill late Sunday, raising expectations that the new electoral map could finally be adopted Monday.

But due to the ongoing opposition's week-long filibuster, the two have yet to arrange a voting session as of Monday evening for the passage of the redrawn map.

Minjoo floor leader Lee Jong-kul told reporters after a meeting with party lawmakers at the National Assembly that the Minjoo "could agree to adjourn an indefinite discussion" so that lawmakers could pass the redrawn electoral map, if the Saenuri consented to the resumption of the filibuster after a vote on the redrawn map.

The Saenuri, however, rejected it outright, saying the party had "nothing to compromise" on the anti-terrorism law and demanded the Minjoo immediately end the seven-day filibuster and pass the new map.

"We may face a situation in which we have no choice but to postpone an (April 13) election if we fail to pass the bill. We must approve the new map before midnight (Monday)," said Rep. Kim Jung-hoon, chief policymaker of the ruling party.

Under the remapping, Seoul has one more parliamentary seat and the increasingly populous Gyeonggi Province has eight more slots.

Incheon and two other regional cities each have one additional seat. Five seats were withdrawn from the Gangwon, Jeolla and Gyeongsang provinces.

The total number of parliamentary seats will remain unchanged at 300 after the rival parties agreed to replace five proportional representation seats with elected ones.

The delay has crippled pre-election campaigns and candidate registry, with the parliamentary elections only 44 days away as of Monday.


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