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Parties agree to normalize parliamentary sessions

All News 20:13 June 21, 2017

SEOUL, June 21 (Yonhap) -- Rival parties virtually agreed Wednesday to resume parliamentary committee sessions that were paralyzed for a few days amid a political standoff over President Moon Jae-in's disputed ministerial appointments, party officials said.

The agreement came after an intense tug of war during the talks involving the floor leaders of the ruling Democratic Party, main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP), People's Party and Bareun Party.

The LKP and Bareun Party had boycotted the sessions to arrange confirmation hearings for the education, defense and unification minister nominees since Moon appointed Kang Kyung-wha as foreign minister Sunday despite their objections over her alleged ethical lapses.

Party officials said the floor leaders also concurred on the need to begin deliberations on a bill for government reorganization, which features the creation of a new ministry in charge of supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The floor leaders, however, failed to narrow their differences over an 11.2 trillion won (US$9.9 billion) extra budget bill aimed largely at creating jobs in the public sector.

Opposition parties have maintained that the bill conflicts with the National Finance Act that stipulates an extra budget can only be set aside during a massive natural disaster, economic recession, mass unemployment or crucial changes in cross-border relations.

The ruling party and government, however, argue the bill meets the legal requirements as they see the current situation as positing the risk of mass unemployment.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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