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Rival parties make last minute push to pass key bills before year ends

Updated: 2013-12-27 AM 6:27:54 (KST)
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The National Assembly is operating with a new sense of urgency as it aims to pass a number of bills before the year's end.
Some were approved on Thursday in a full-Assembly session including a special bill aimed at giving more financial support to small-sized firms so they can grow bigger and more competitive.
The ruling and opposition party leaders of a special parliamentary committee to reform the National Intelligence Service continued to hash out the details Thursday, one day after the rival parties agreed to pass the 2014 budget bill and a NIS reform plan this coming Monday.
The Christmas Day deal, however, did not include an agreement on other key legislation.
The Saenuri Party demanded the main opposition party help pass bills that seek to facilitate foreign investment and tourism in the country.
President Park called for their passage earlier this month, saying they are necessary to revive the sluggish economy and provide momentum for a recovery.
The Democratic Party, however, called for prohibiting efforts to privatize the state-run rail operator, KORAIL, asking that it be put into law.
The 76-hundred member railroad union has been striking for nearly three weeks in protest of the government setting up a subsidiary company that will run a new high-speed train line from southeast of Seoul to the southern port city of Busan.
The railroad union says the move is part of the government's plan to eventually privatize national rail services.
The government says it has no intention of doing so.

"While the rival parties failed to reach a consensus over these issues Wednesday, they are continuing discussions about the bills in the respective standing committees. As for next year's budget bill, the rival parties have cleared the way for about two-thirds of 1-hundred-20 government business projects that are pending, most of them pertaining to job creation and the creative economy.
Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News."

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