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Finance minister calls for passage of budget bill

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki urged officials on Thursday to make efforts to help the National Assembly approve next year's budget bill by next Tuesday, when the parliamentary session ends.

South Korea is seeking a total of 513.5 trillion won ($431 billion) in budget spending for next year, a 9.3-percent hike from 2019. The National Assembly missed a Monday deadline to pass the budget bill due to political battles.

This year marked the fifth straight year the National Assembly has missed the legal deadline, as the partisan standoff over key contentious bills has shown no signs of abating.


(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

At least 148 out of 295 lawmakers need to be present at parliament to put a bill to a vote in a plenary session. Of them, a majority of votes, at least 75, is needed to endorse the measure, according to the National Assembly's procedures.

The ruling Democratic Party has 129 seats, with the main opposition Liberty Korea Party holding 108, and minor opposition parties and independents accounting for 58.

Hong also called for officials to closely monitor volatility in financial and property markets.

South Korea's export-reliant economy is grappling with the lengthy trade war between the United States and China and a cyclical downturn in the global chip industry.

The nation's economy grew a less-than-expected 0.4 percent in the third quarter of this year.

The third-quarter estimate marked a slowdown from a revised 1 percent on-quarter expansion in the April-June period.

South Korea's exports sank 14.3 percent in November from a year earlier, extending their slump to a 12th consecutive month. (Yonhap)

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