Published : 2013-02-23 16:14
Updated : 2013-02-23 16:14
The rival parties remained locked in a standoff Saturday over President-elect Park Geun-hye's government reorganization proposal amid concern the new government won't be able to operate effectively for many days with her inauguration just two days away.
The ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic United Party held a series of talks the previous day but failed to reach a compromise on the proposal that calls for creating new ministries and reorganizing duties among existing ministries and agencies.
Friday was the final day that an agreement on the proposal could have been reached and passed through parliament before Park's inauguration on Monday. Her nominations of prime minister and other Cabinet members are also pending in parliament, which means that she has to work with the old Cabinet for the time being after taking office.
The most contentious points in the reorganization proposal include one that calls for transferring some duties of the watchdog Korea Communications Commission to the ministry of future creation and science to be newly established under the incoming government.
The DUP claims the transfer would hurt the neutrality of broadcasting firms, while the Saenuri Party says it will increase government efficiency.
Other sticking points include a proposal to move all trade negotiating roles of the foreign ministry to the ministry of industry and commerce. The opposition wants to maintain the current system or demand that a separate entity be created to deal exclusively with trade negotiations.
"We gave up," a ruling party official said, blaming the opposition party for the impasse. "There cannot be any agreement unless the opposition party changes its attitude."
However, the opposition's deputy floor leader, Rep. Woo Won-shik, demanded the ruling party make a concession, claiming that the proposal to transfer roles of the Korea Communications Commission could be used to tame broadcasting stations.
Observers say the rival parties could reach a breakthrough compromise on Sunday as a prolonged standoff could spark public criticism and be a burden for both parties. Should a compromise be reached Sunday, the proposal could be passed by parliament on Tuesday, when the next plenary session is scheduled. (Yonhap News)