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Assembly passes revised spy agency law after eliminating opposition filibuster

All News 21:38 December 13, 2020

SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) -- The National Assembly on Sunday passed a contentious bill aimed at transferring the state spy agency's authority to conduct anti-communist investigations to the police.

It is the last of the three bills that were recently approved by the assembly as part of the Moon Jae-in administration's long-planned push to reform so-called powerful institutions, such as the state prosecution service.

In his inauguration speech in May 2017, Moon pledged efforts for such reform, saying he would "completely separate powerful institutions from domestic politics and install systems to make any such institutions unable to wield omnipotent power."

Lawmakers, led by the ruling Democratic Party (DP), passed the revision to the National Intelligence Service Korea Act, that also aims to stop the agency from meddling in domestic politics, during a plenary parliamentary session in a 187-0 vote. Lawmakers of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) boycotted the voting.

The voting came after the liberal ruling bloc eliminated a four-day filibuster by the PPP. The DP, which commands 174 of the 300 parliamentary seats, enlisted support from outside the party to successfully end the filibuster with 180 votes.

After passing the revision bill, National Assembly Speaker Rep. Park Byeong-seug tabled another contentious proposal, billed as the anti-Pyongyang leaflet prohibition bill, aimed at banning the launching of leaflets critical of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un or his political system, across the inter-Korean border.

But the PPP launched another filibuster to block voting and the DP countered it by filing a request for voting to end the filibuster.

The DP can break the filibuster with 180 votes, 24 hours after filing the request.

People Power Party lawmakers leave the main National Assembly hall in Seoul to boycott a voting on a revision bill on the National Intelligence Service Korea Act on Dec. 13, 2020. (Yonhap)


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