Floor leaders of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party and the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party are expected to convene Monday over beer to discuss ways to resume stalled parliamentary talks.
Amid a parliamentary deadlock, all eyes are on whether a consensus will be reached on the extraordinary parliamentary session in May, alongside the 6.7 trillion-won ($5.6 billion) extra budget that awaits parliamentary vote.
“I am counting on detailing ways to normalize the parliament through frequent meetups,” said Democratic Party Floor Leader Lee In-young.
If the three party leaders meet, it would be the first meeting since the ruling party and the Bareunmirae Party newly elected Rep. Lee In-young and Rep. Oh Shin-hwan, respectively, as floor leaders earlier this month.
Newly elected Bareunmirae Party Floor Leader Oh Shin-hwan (left) shakes hands with Floor Leader Lee In-young of the ruling Democratic Party during Oh’s courtesy visit to Lee last week. (Yonhap)
During his courtesy visit to Lee last week, Bareunmirae Party Floor Leader Oh requested Lee to “arrange a ‘beer time’ as an older brother,” with the aim of “putting our heads together to look for what can be done in this serious situation.”
The main opposition’s Floor Leader Na also said to Lee, “I am determined to be a pretty (older) sister who treats you to meals if the National Assembly becomes a branch for the people.”
Na’s remarks were a reference to the hit Korean drama “Pretty Sister Who Treats Me to Meals,” which recently aired on JTBC.
However, in contrast to Na’s comments, the Liberty Korea Party has taken to the streets its opposition against key reform bills fast-tracked earlier this month. It has been holding rallies nationwide calling for the ruling party to scrap the designation of reforms bills on the fast track and apologize for pushing ahead with the process.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party and other opposition parties are calling for the Liberty Korea Party to return to the National Assembly to resume discussions on pending issues.
The ruling party is seeking to pass the extra budget within this month, as the parliamentary special committee on budget and accounts’ term is to end May 29.
By Kim Bo-gyung (firstname.lastname@example.org