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Normalization of National Assembly falls through Updated: 2019-06-24 16:42:37 KST

It's been quite a dramatic day at South Korea's National Assembly.
Just a few hours after the floor leaders of the three main parties announced that parliament had been normalized following an over two-month hiatus, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party announced the deal null and void, after its lawmakers refused to endorse it.
For more, we have our National Assembly correspondent Kim Min-ji on the line.
Min-ji, fill us in

Well it's been quite the drama.
The sigh of relief that parliament had been normalized didn't last for long.
Just over an hour after we heard from the floor leaders of the main political parties that they had reached an agreement to normalize parliament, lawmakers with the main opposition Liberty Korea Party refused to endorse the deal.
From what we know so far, the conservative lawmakers claimed the deal was not specific enough and required more fine-tuning.

That's likely in reference to a clause saying that parties will discuss the proposals of each party regarding the key reform bills put on fast-track in late April and handle them in a spirit of agreement.
Those bills include one on electoral reform and another to establish an independent body to probe high level government officials.
If you recall, the fast track move was what triggered the prolonged impasse in the first place -- as the ruling and minor opposition parties pushed ahead with it despite strong resistance from the main opposition.
The Liberty Korea Party says they will only participate in confirmation hearings for the nominees for prosecutor general and chief of the National Tax Service, as well as in committees that will deal with urgent pending issues.

So, the much anticipated parliamentary normalization has again been put on hold. But the National Assembly went ahead and convened a plenary session for the prime minister to deliver a speech on the need for the government's extra budget?

He delivered the speech about two hours ago, without the presence of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party.
Parliamentary Speaker Moon Hee-sang had given the parties until today to normalize parliament and agree on the June agenda or else he said he would push ahead with the speech because deliberations can no longer be delayed.
Mind you, the 5.7 billion U.S. dollar extra budget bill was submitted to the National Assembly two months ago.

In his speech, the prime minister said that the extra budget is a must to deal with people's safety and breathe life into the slowing economy.
He said economic uncertainties are growing, pointing to the trade dispute between U.S. and China, and an overall slowdown in the global economy.
He also noted the country's slowing economic growth, and dwindling exports.
He added that the budget will also be used to create new jobs, support start ups as well as foster social safety nets for the vulnerable.

The prime minister also highlighted that the budget will be used to tackle fine-dust pollution and deal with aftermath of the forest fires in Gangwon-do Province.
He asked for parliament's full support, so that the budget can be implemented in July at the latest.
But given the situation now, deliberations, nevermind the passage itself appear to be tough, especially as the main opposition Liberty Korea Party has claimed the budget will only be used to woo voters ahead of next year's general elections.
So, we'll have to see how things play out.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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