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21st National Assembly kicks off with main opposition boycott

United Future Party lawmakers exit the plenary session of the National Assembly on Friday. Yonhap
United Future Party lawmakers exit the plenary session of the National Assembly on Friday. Yonhap

The 21st National Assembly kicked off Friday with the plenary session boycotted by the main opposition over friction with the ruling party, despite repeated promises to seek “cooperative politics.”

On Friday, the new parliament’s plenary session opened with members of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, main opposition United Future Party and other minor parties. The main opposition, however, left the session just 12 minutes after it opened, following the address by the party’s Floor Leader Rep. Joo Ho-young.

In the address, Joo stressed that the party attended the session to stress the illegitimacy of the session.

“The plenary session cannot be held as there was no agreement between the ruling and opposition parties, and this is inappropriate,” Joo said.

“The reason (the party) attended is to highlight and issue a complain on this point, not in recognition of the session.”

Joo went on to say that the ruling party pushing parliamentary procedures through without the main opposition will set the Assembly on the wrong course.

Following the address, United Future Party lawmakers vacated their seats, leaving only members of the Democratic Party and minor opposition parties in place.

The remaining lawmakers voted Rep. Park Byeong-seug as National Assembly speaker and Rep. Kim Sang-hee as a deputy speaker. Both are members of the ruling party. Kim becomes the first woman to take the post of deputy speaker.

Due to the United Future Party’s boycott, the deputy speaker post allocated to the main opposition was not filled. Before the session, the United Future Party tapped five-term lawmaker Rep. Chung Jin-suk for the post.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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