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Rival parties fail to reach agreement on gov't spending proposal

All News 22:13 December 05, 2018

SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- Rival parties again failed to reach a deal on the government's 2019 budget bill Wednesday, three days after the legal deadline for its parliamentary passage expired.

Floor leaders from the ruling Democratic Party and two opposition parties held marathon negotiations to close their gaps on the government's 470.5 trillion-won (US$421.8 billion) budget proposal.

The negotiations ended with only an agreement to resume talks early Thursday, their party officials said.

A breakthrough seemed possible earlier when Democratic Party floor leader Hong Young-pyo said the sides had drawn up a draft of an agreement.

The floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party said it was other political issues that prevented a breakthrough.

"(We) have made significant progress and are near an agreement on the budget bill, but the more fundamental problem right now is how to reform the election district system," Kim Sung-tae told reporters.

"In fact, even if an agreement is reached on the budget bill, it is not clear when a plenary session (of the parliament) can be held due to the deadlock over the election district reform," he added.

The official deadline for the passage of the budget bill was on Sunday.

Political observers noted that the rival parties must reach a deal before the end of Thursday if the bill is to be voted on before the ongoing parliamentary session ends the following day.


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