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Rival party leaders meet again to break political impasse

Updated: 2013-12-03 PM 4:01:50 (KST)
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The chairs and floor leaders of the ruling Saenuri and main opposition Democratic Party are talking again after months of being at odds over allegations that the National Intelligence Service and other governmental bodies meddled in last year's presidential election.
At a meeting Tuesday, their second in two days, they reportedly discussed the possibility of granting the National Assembly's Intelligence Committee the power to penalize the National Intelligence Service.
They were also said to have discussed the possibility of giving legislative power to a task force charged with reforming the state spy agency.
The dispute between the two parties over the election-meddling allegations has deadlocked parliament for months.
Until now, the opposition party's demand for a special investigation into the allegations and its call for the formation of a task force to reform the spy agency have gone unanswered.
Although no decisions were made at the Tuesday meeting, early reports suggest some progress has been made.
However, there is still a long road ahead.
The two sides have yet to make headway on nominating a chair for the task force, nor have they made a decision on whether they will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the election-meddling allegations.
In a conciliatory gesture before the Tuesday meeting, the Saenuri Party called off plans to put the budget bill up for a vote without the Democrats at a budget committee meeting on Monday, hoping the Tuesday meeting would produce a positive outcome.
However, that means lawmakers have again missed the constitutionally mandated deadline for passing the annual budget bill, which is December 2nd this year.
It's the 11th straight year the deadline has been missed.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News.

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