(LEAD) Moon denounces lawmakers for blocking reform, key bills
(ATTN: MODIFIES headline; ADDS info in last 2 paras)
SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in slammed lawmakers on Monday for "shameful" acts of obstructing legislation of crucial reforms and measures to prop up the economy and public welfare.
During this year's last meeting with his senior aides, he also expressed expectations for prosecution reform, only hours before the National Assembly convened to vote on a key related bill.
"Throughout its term, the 20th National Assembly was dominated by political strife and is showing its shameful aspect to the last moment," Moon said.
He was commenting on a scuffle that occurred at the National Assembly's main hall last Friday when lawmakers from the main opposition Liberty Korea Party occupied the speaker's podium to block the vote on a revision to the election law.
The ruling party-led bill, aimed at introducing a new proportional representation system and lowering the voting age, was passed on the day after the speaker mobilized security guards to control the protesting lawmakers.
Moon criticized legislators for their "ugly" show of force in violation of a National Assembly act aimed at preventing violence.
He called for parliament not to sacrifice public welfare any more, citing a number of measures for youth, newlyweds, small merchants and venture businesses, which have been long stalled at the legislature.
"It will not be me alone who think our politics has a long way to go. That made the public a scapegoat," he added.
Looking back at the year, however, the president expressed hopes to complete his prosecution reform and repair social unfairness.
"The institutionalization of prosecution reform is now in its final stage of fruition," he said.
The National Assembly on late Monday passed a proposal to set up an independent body to investigate corruption and power abuse by high-level officials.
The ruling party and its allies also plan to soon pass bills that will give more investigative power to police.
"Though there have been significant conflicts and confusion, the public's desperate call provided a driving force for moving forward prosecution reform and raising the value of fairness one notch," he said.
Fairness has been a key political theme this year as Moon's pick of justice minister was ensnared by a scandal involving alleged unfair academic advantages given to his daughter.
The presidential office commended the passage of the bill on the investigative body as a "historic moment for democratic checks and balances."
"It was made possible because the public determined that checks and balances are needed, especially over the prosecution's arbitrary and intimidatory use of powers," presidential spokesperson Ko Min-jung said.
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