SEOUL, May 4 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk Yeol did not make an official promise to legislate the nursing act during his election campaign, his office said Thursday, adding to views that Yoon could veto the bill that passed through the opposition-led National Assembly last week.
The opposition Democratic Party-controlled Assembly passed the bill aimed at defining the roles and responsibilities of nurses and improving their working conditions last week amid fierce opposition from the ruling party as well as doctors.
The ruling People Power Party has been considering asking Yoon to exercise his veto power against it. But supporters of the legislation have claimed that Yoon should not do so because it was one of his campaign pledges ahead of last year's presidential election.
The head of the Korean Nurses Association has claimed that Yoon made the promise during his visit to the association in January last year, two months before the election.
On Thursday, a presidential official said it was not Yoon's official campaign promise.
"As far as I know, when then candidate Yoon visited the Nurses Association during the last presidential election campaign, his answer was something like he will 'make a rational decision,'" the official told reporters.
"I am not sure whether it was posted on an internet site as if it was a campaign promise, but as far as I know, the candidate did not make an official promise to any association or organization," the official said.
The nurses' community touts the bill as essential in redefining their role as more independent and professional services amid growing medical needs, but doctors protest that it could debilitate the hierarchical cooperative system between doctors and nurses.
Currently, the Medical Service Act only stipulates the role of nurses as medical assistance under the guidance of a medical doctor.
The nursing act is expected to be sent to the government for Yoon's final approval late Thursday. Upon receiving the bill, Yoon must either promulgate it into law or reject it within 15 business days.
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