Cabinet approves anti-parliamentary clash bill
The Cabinet approved a revision to the National Assembly Act on Tuesday that calls for a series of changes in parliamentary procedures to handle contentious bills so as to promote compromise and prevent lawmakers from scuffling with each other.
The Cabinet passed the anti-clash bill in a meeting presided over by President Lee Myung-bak, though some officials voiced concern about possible problems, such as whether urgent bills can be passed swiftly or whether the new measure hurts the majority principle, according to presidential spokesman Park Jeong-ha.
Lee said that problems, if any, can be addressed later, according to Park.
The anti-fighting bill, which passed through parliament early this month, restricts the parliamentary speaker's authority to put a contentious bill to a floor vote without agreement between rival parties because such actions in the past have often resulted in brawls between rival lawmakers.
Instead, the new measure allows lawmakers to fast-track disputed bills with three-fifths approval from the entire National Assembly or parliamentary committees in charge of those bills, a clause seen as favorable to a majority party.
The revision also enables lawmakers to filibuster over motions they oppose with more than one-third approval from all National Assembly members, while requiring three-fifths approval to end such legitimate obstruction of parliamentary proceedings, a clause beneficial to minority parties.
In South Korea, lawmakers are often associated with negative images due in large part to widespread public perceptions they will not compromise and are bent on partisan bickering that often involves shoving, pushing and other physical confrontation.