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Rival parties to abolish special activity funds amid criticism

All Headlines 11:08 August 13, 2018

SEOUL, Aug. 13 (Yonhap) – Rival political parties agreed Monday to stop the practice of taking massive special activity allowances amid criticism that the money has been spent without proper oversight.

The ruling Democratic Party (DP) and the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) reversed their earlier stances of keeping the funds intact, joining smaller opposition parties that called for the scrapping of the controversial funds.

Last week, the two largest parties agreed to manage the funds more transparently and disclose the receipts, but faced fierce criticism that those measures fall short of public demands for reform.

Parliament provides ranking lawmakers, including major party leaders and floor leaders, with up to 60 million won (US$53,571) per month in the name of special activity funds, a civic group said last month.

This year, the budget on special activity funds is known to be set at some 6 billion won, down about 1.9 billion from the previous year.

"The budget for the funds will be abolished," said a DP official.

At 11 a.m., parliamentary speaker Moon Hee-sang will meet with the floor leaders of the ruling and opposition parties to discuss ways to handle key bills at an extraordinary session in August.

The gathering will bring together Hong Young-pyo, the floor leader of the ruling DP, Kim Sung-tae of the LKP and Kim Kwan-young of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party.

After the meeting, they are expected to announce their decision to decline the special funds.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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