Parties fail to reach deal on June plenary meeting

Rival parties failed to reach a deal Friday to discuss conditions for a plenary meeting, effectively scuttling the passage of an extra budget bill during the June extraordinary parliamentary session.

Friday is the final day of the extra session, but the National Assembly was unable to pass the budget bill and other key proposals amid heightened partisan tensions over a push by the opposition to get President Moon Jae-in to dismiss Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo.

Rival parties wrangled over the bill calling for the dismissal of the defense minister over a maritime security failure in the case of a North Korean boat that arrived undetected on a South Korean shore last month.

National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang presided over talks to mediate among the rival parties for discussions on such pending issues, but they failed to narrow differences.

They agreed to hold a parliamentary foreign affairs and unification committee meeting on Monday to work on a resolution urging Japan to withdraw its export curbs against South Korea.

Speaker Moon and floor leaders also plan to hold a meeting on Monday to continue discussions, including a schedule for a July session, according to National Assembly spokesman Han Min-soo.

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party (BP) have demanded a two-day plenary meeting to vote on a bill calling for the dismissal of Jeong. But the ruling Democratic Party (DP) rejected the idea.

The military is under fire for its 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.

The LKP demanded the DP accept either a parliamentary probe into the case or a vote on the dismissal proposal for next week as a precondition for passing an extra budget bill through parliament.

The minor BP proposed a plenary meeting for Monday to handle bills on Jeong's dismissal and a 6.7 trillion-won (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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