National Assembly passes bill on preventing parliamentary brawls
The parliament approved a key revision to the National Assembly Act on Wednesday, raising hopes the new measure will help end distasteful scenes of lawmakers scuffling with each other to push forward their demands over contentious issues.
The anti-clash bill was passed in a vote of 127 to 48, with 17 abstentions.
Its passage had been uncertain after the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic United Party failed to narrow differences over it and called off a planned parliamentary session last week.
But the rival parties reached a last-minute compromise on it earlier Wednesday.
If the bill had not been handled before the outgoing Assembly's four-year term expires on May 29, it would have been automatically scrapped. The incoming parliament will be comprised of 300 legislators selected in last month's general elections, 150 of them from the ruling party.
The anti-fighting bill restricts the parliamentary speaker's authority to put a contentious bill to a floor vote, without agreement between rival parties or except for natural disasters, war and other national emergencies, because such actions often in the past have resulted in brawls between rival lawmakers over contentious motions.
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. (Yonhap)