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Speaker to put election, prosecution reform bills to vote this week

Hotly contested fast-tracked bills -- including election and prosecutorial reforms -- will be put to a vote during the parliament’s plenary session Monday and Tuesday. 

National Assembly (Yonhap)
National Assembly (Yonhap)

However, as the main opposition Liberty Korea Party is expected to stage a filibuster to block voting on the bills, they are most likely to be put to a vote Wednesday, when the parliament convenes a special session.

South Korea’s parliamentary law stipulates that bills blocked from being put to a vote via filibuster should be taken up without delay once a new session convenes.

On Friday, the floor leaders of three parties -- the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, Liberty Korea Party and minor conservative Bareunmirae Party -- failed to reconcile their differences on the bills as the meeting was abruptly called off.

“Speaker Moon Hee-sang wouldn’t have pushed for a vote had the Liberty Korea Party withdrawn its decision to stage a filibuster on all the pending bills at the plenary session,” National Assembly spokesperson Han Min-soo said Friday, announcing that the speaker would push ahead with his decision.

However, there is little room for last-minute compromise between the ruling and main opposition parties on the controversial bills.

The Liberty Korea Party is electing a new floor leader Monday, who could help negotiate a deal with the Democratic Party that could break the deadlock.

Along with the fast-tracked bills, the parliament will also vote on the next year’s budget.

The controversial bills include modifying election rules and decentralizing the prosecution’s powers by realigning the powers of the prosecution and police to investigate and indict.

The also include establishing an independent anti-corruption body to investigate corruption allegations involving senior ranking officials.

Supporters of the bills argue they will check on powerful prosecution, while protesters question the unchecked powers of the new agency.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)

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