Main opposition demands parliamentary probe or vote on defense chief’s dismissal

SEOUL, The main opposition party on Friday demanded the ruling party accept either a parliamentary probe into the undetected arrival of a North Korean boat last month or a vote on the defense minister's dismissal as a precondition for passing an extra budget bill through parliament.

Friday is the final day of the June extraordinary parliamentary session, but it is unclear whether a plenary session could be held later in the day to pass an extra budget bill and other key measures. The bill is still pending in parliament as the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) is demanding cutting much of the proposed spending.

If (the ruling Democratic Party) accepts the probe demand, we will complete the review of the extra budget bill and other proposals today, LKP floor leader Na Kyungwon said at a meeting with party officials.

If not, we demand a twoday plenary session for next week to spend one day reporting the dismissal proposal and the other day for the vote for it and the budget bill, she said.

Opposition parties have demanded the dismissal of Defense Minister Jeong Kyeongdoo to hold him responsible for the military's failure to detect a small wooden boat carrying four North Koreans until it traveled all the way from their country to a South Korean port on the east coast. Whether to pass a motion proposing Jeong's dismissal has become a major point of contention, with the ruling party rejecting the idea.

The minor opposition Bareunmirae Party proposed a plenary meeting for Monday to handle bills on Jeong's dismissal and a 6.7 trillionwon (US$5.7 billion) extra budget.

President Moon and the chiefs of five political parties held a meeting a day earlier to discuss bipartisan responses to Japan's export curbs, but they failed to make any breakthrough over political issues.

Under the Constitution, the National Assembly can propose the dismissal of the prime minister or Cabinet members to the president.

The passage of such a motion requires the approval of a majority of sitting lawmakers. But the president can reject it as the proposal is not legally binding.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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