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National Assembly approves gov't budget bill for next year

Politics 04:48 December 08, 2018

SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Yonhap) -- The National Assembly approved a revised bill on the government's 2019 budget Saturday as minor parties boycotted the vote amid a row over electoral reform.

Parliament passed the 469.6 trillion-won budget bill in a 168-29 vote, with 15 abstentions, down a net 927 billion won from the government's original 470.5 trillion-won budget proposal.

A record budget plan is aimed at boosting the slowing economy and spurring job creation, as well as backing up inter-Korean projects.

The ruling Democratic Party (DP) and the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) on Thursday reached a tentative budget deal that includes a cut in spending on job creation and inter-Korean projects by some 5.2 trillion won.

But the agreement did not include a commitment to electoral reform, a key sticking point in the budget negotiations, drawing condemnation from minor parties.

The minor opposition Bareunmirae Party (BP) and two minor parties sought to link the budget bill passage to the introduction of a new proportional representation system, a proposal rejected by the DP and the LKP.

The three smaller parties boycotted a plenary session in protest of what they called bigger rivals' political collusion to defend their vested interests.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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