Lee urges parties to pass pending bills before parliament expires
President Lee Myung-bak urged the ruling and opposition parties Monday to put partisan interests behind and pass a series of key pending bills through parliament before the National Assembly expires next month.
Lee issued the appeal in his biweekly radio address as the fates of dozens of important bills pending in parliament grow increasingly uncertain. The term of the outgoing National Assembly ends on May 29 and any bills unhandled by then will be automatically scrapped.
"I earnestly ask (the rival parties) to open an extraordinary parliamentary session before the 18th National Assembly expires and pass the pending bills without fail," Lee said, stressing that the bills are "an urgent issue for the people" beyond partisan interests.
The ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic United Party had planned to hold a one-day extraordinary session last week, but the meeting was called off at the last minute due to differences over a bill aimed at preventing physical clashes in parliament.
Another pending bill empowers police to use location information of emergency callers. The measure was initiated following a public uproar over the grisly death of a woman at the hands of a Korean-Chinese kidnapper.
Noting that the government has launched a war on loan sharks, Lee also vowed to use every possible means to root out the illegal practice that he said represents "one of the most serious violations that eats away at our society."
Earlier this month, the government declared war on illegal private loans, opening call centers across the nation to collect and investigate reports of financial and other damage from loan sharks, such as violating the upper limit of 30 percent on interest rates, and threats and assaults from private moneylenders. (Yonhap)