Rival parties' floor leadership discuss ways to normalize operation of parliament
The ruling Saenuri Party's floor leader Choi Kyung-hwan and the main opposition Democratic Party's floor leader Jun Byung-hun sat down for breakfast Thursday to discuss how the rival parties can go about normalizing the operation of parliament.
It's the first time the floor leaders have met each other to talk parliamentary business in two months.
Relations between the parties have been strained to near breaking point over issues surrounding the country's spy agency, the National Intelligence Service.
The Democratic Party has been demanding the NIS be reformed from top to bottom, accusing it of meddling in last year's presidential election through a systematic online smear campaign against the opposition candidates in the run-up to the election.
When a parliamentary probe into the scandal petered out with no tangible results in early August, the DP launched street protests.. and has been working in and out of the National Assembly since then.
The Saenuri Party has urged the DP to end its outdoor protests and quickly return to parliament.
The vast partisan differences have kept the rival parties from scheduling legislative agendas and activities.
As a result, review and settlement of accounts, inspection of the ministries and the review of bills have all been put on hold although the regular parliamentary session began 10 days ago.
Emerging from the breakfast meeting Thursday, ruling party floor leader Choi Kyung-hwan said the rival parties had agreed to make meaningful progress on normalizing the operation of parliament before Chuseok, the Korean Thanksgiving holiday, which starts next Wednesday.
Choi also said he will continue to work with his DP counterpart to arrange a meeting between President Park Geun-hye and the leadership of the rival parties to break the political impasse.
The DP has been demanding President Park apologize for the NIS scandal and take a tough stance on the issue of NIS reform.
Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News.
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