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Parties agree to conduct parliamentary probe into hiring scandal

Politics 16:30 November 21, 2018

SEOUL, Nov. 21 (Yonhap) -- Rival parties reached an agreement Wednesday to conduct a parliamentary probe into allegations of nepotism at public firms, putting the National Assembly back on track after a weeklong hiatus.

The operation of the assembly was normalized after two conservative parties boycotted a plenary session last Thursday over President Moon Jae-in's appointment of the environment minister without parliament consent.

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and the minor conservative Bareunmirae Party (BP) called for a parliamentary probe into an allegation that Seoul Metro, the subway operator under the city government, gave unfair job favors to its employees' family members.

In a bipartisan agreement, the ruling Democratic Party (DP) accepted their demand for the probe into what the opposition parties called "hereditary succession of jobs."

The liberal party had said that it will first await the outcome of an inspection by the state audit agency into the subway operator.

The probe will be conducted after the ongoing parliamentary regular session ends in mid-December, according to the agreement reached by the floor leaders of the DP and the two conservative parties. Details will be set at a December session.

The move is also expected to put back on track the National Assembly's review of the government's record 470.5 trillion won (US$417.7 billion) budget proposal and the passage of key bills on the economy. A legal deadline to review the budget bill is Dec. 2.

In a related move, the parties agreed to normalize the operations of standing parliamentary committees, including the special budget panel.

They will also resume trilateral working-level consultations to handle key bills as they earlier agreed at a meeting of a joint consultative body involving the government and parties.

This photo, taken on Nov. 21, 2018, shows Hong Young-pyo (C), the floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party, and his counterparts from two conservative parties heading to the office of the parliamentary speaker to discuss ways to normalize the National Assembly. (Yonhap)


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