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Rival party leaders break parliamentary deadlock with agreement on spy agency reform

Updated: 2013-12-05 AM 6:28:22 (KST)
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The ruling Saenuri Party and main opposition Democratic Party held a general meeting on Wednesday to move ahead with resuming parliamentary business.

"We plan to go forward in settling next year's budget and resolving various pending bills that are on the table as soon as possible."

The meeting comes as the leaders of both rival parties compromised Tuesday on various contentious issues, such as launching a legislative committee on reforming the National Intelligence Service.

"We were able to come to an agreement on how to run the committee for reforming the state spy agency. It was a major step forward."

The committee will devise tougher measures designed to prevent NIS agents from intervening in politics, and find ways to enhance the intelligence agency's ability to deal with cyberterrorism.
It will consist of an equal number of lawmakers from both parties and will be chaired by a Democratic Party leader.
The lawmakers also agreed to set up a political reform committee, to be led by a Saenuri Party lawmaker, that will set new rules for local elections.
The party leaders said they would pass bills on the two special committees on Thursday.
They also agreed to return to business as usual in the National Assembly, starting with deliberations on the 2014 budget, with the hope of getting it, and other pending bills, passed by the end of the year.
The main opposition party boycotted all parliamentary sessions starting last week due to bitter bipartisan wrangling centered primarily around the NIS allegations.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News.

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