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(4th LD) Ruling, opposition parties agree on parliamentary formation

All News 18:25 June 08, 2016

(ATTN: RECAST headline, lead; UPDATES details throughout)

SEOUL, June 8 (Yonhap) -- After a days-long stalemate, South Korea's ruling and opposition parties agreed Wednesday on details of the parliamentary formation, after the Saenuri Party announced that it will allow the main opposition to appoint the new National Assembly speaker.

The agreement came hours after Saenuri opened the door for the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea to designate the new National Assembly speaker. The inability to see eye to eye on this matter stalled all parliamentary proceedings such as picking who will chair the assembly committees.

Minjoo welcomed the latest decision, adding that the move reflects the public's will as shown through April's poll.

As widely expected, Saenuri and Minjoo took eight chairmanships, respectively, while the minor People's Party took two.

The ruling Saenuri Party and the Minjoo Party have been wrangling over the formation of the committees as the main opposition managed to take one more seat in the 300-seat unicameral parliament following the April 13 polls.

The discussion had faced a deadlock as Saenuri claimed it should take the National Assembly speaker seat, in line with tradition, since the post has with very few exceptions been taken up by the ruling party in the past. The opposition countered that the No. 1 party in terms of the number of lawmakers has priority in picking the speaker.

Related to the deadlock, Rep. Suh Chung-won, an eight-term lawmaker from Saenuri who has been cited as a potential candidate for the National Assembly speaker, had called on his party to look at the bigger picture and asked Saenuri's leadership to yield the speaker's seat to the opposition.

Saenuri Floor Leader Chung Jin-suk, meanwhile, brushed aside speculations raised by the opposition that the presidential office has been behind the ruling party's strategy on the parliamentary formation.

Political pundits said the swifter than expected resolution comes as all parties faced flak for not agreeing to overcome differences.


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