Dhaka, Bangladesh
No unilateral push

No unilateral push

Having a dominant majority must be a confidence booster. That is how it looks for the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) as with its 177 seats the party is looking to unilaterally open the new National Assembly, Friday. The Assembly, by law, must hold its opening session within a week of its inauguration; and the new speaker and vice speakers must also be chosen at this session. Previous Assemblies in Korea have delayed the commencement of proceedings as the ruling and opposition parties wrangled over the leaders and membership of committees. In that sense, the hurried steps to hold the opening session Friday and fill the 18 standing committees could be commendable. But there is still room and time for the DPK to work together with the main opposition United Future Party (UFP). We hope both the rival parties will compromise to start the legislative process together. The DPK with its super majority would do well to accommodate some of the UFP's demands. A slew of bills to fight against COVID-19 and minimize its economic fallout ? including this year's third supplementary budget bill worth 35.3 trillion won ($29 billion) ? are pending approval at the 21st National Assembly. The DPK and the UFP are jostling mainly over who helms two key committees ? the Legislation and Judiciary Committee and the Special Committee on Budget and Accounts. In principle, the DPK, as the governing party, can head both committees, especially if Speaker-designate Park Byeong-seug is confirmed at the opening session. But since the 17th Assembly, a lawmaker of the main opposition party has led the Legislation and Judiciary Committee. DPK floor leader Kim Tae-nyeon said holding the opening session on time was not subject to negotiations. In response, UFP floor leader Joo Ho-young condemned the unilateral move, comparing it to a dictatorship. Some of the DPK's recent steps such as a pledge by Chairman Lee Hae-chan to correct past historical distortions here can come across as unilateral. — The Korea Times

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