Four Negotiation Groups in Parliament & Talks on Constitutional Revision open the window of AOD

Write : 2018-04-08


Two minor parties have launched a joint floor negotiation bloc to strengthen their parliamentary clout.
The Party for Democracy and Peace(PDP) and the Justice Party formally registered their joint negotiation group with the National Assembly on Monday.
Therefore, four negotiation groups will engage in the extraordinary Assembly session for the month of April.
Justice Party floor leader Roh Hoe-chan is the inaugural chief of the new bloc, named the Parliamentary Group for Peace and Justice. He will now take an active role in partisan negotiations.
The two parties held a ceremony last Sunday marking the launch of their joint bloc and pledged cooperation.
The PDP and Justice Party, which have 14 and six lawmakers, respectively, have been excluded from key legislative negotiations, as each party alone cannot form a negotiation group which is required to have a minimum of 20 legislators.
With the latest change in the political landscape, the proportion of conservatives and liberals has reached a near balance.
Currently in the 293-seat Assembly, 148 lawmakers are conservatives and 145 are liberals.
The liberal camp includes the 121-member ruling Democratic Party, the newly launched parliament group as well as two independents and Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun.
The conservative bloc includes the main opposition Liberty Korea Party(LKP) with 116 seats and the Bareunmirae Party holding 30 seats.
But three proportional representative members of the Bareunmirae Party have practically aligned with the Parliamentary Group for Peace and Justice, which gives the group the power of wielding three additional seats in parliament.
If this is taken into account, the liberals then hold three more seats than the conservatives.
However such a numbers game may not be highly significant. As neither side holds a significant majority, the smaller negotiation groups will try to maximize their presence by exercising a casting vote.
And this will likely be the case during negotiations on revising the Constitution.
The ruling party expects the new negotiation group to stand as an ally at least for the issue of constitutional amendment.
The main opposition LKP is pushing to bring together other opposition parties to form a united front against the ruling camp.
Meanwhile the Bareunmirae Party agrees with the LKP and opposes key elements in the amendment put forward by the ruling party.
The Parliamentary Group for Peace and Justice also differs with the ruling party regarding some areas, as it supports seeking the consent of parliament and the prime minister, a move aimed at dispersing the president's power.
The fact that parliamentary seats are likely to change hands is another variable. This is because more lawmakers may decide to run in the June local elections, and the number of districts electing new representatives may increase.
Depending on the election outcome, it’s possible that the power dynamics in parliament can be reversed.

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