Anchor: The 21st National Assembly officially kicked off Friday, but the main opposition United Future Party(UFP) boycotted voting for the speaker and deputies amid a partisan tug-of-war over standing committee chair posts.
Choi You Sun reports.
Report: The first plenary session of the 21st National Assembly, which was unilaterally called by the ruling Democratic Party(DP), opened at 10:00 a.m. Friday.
The main opposition United Future Party(UFP), however, walked out in protest of the DP's push to proceed with parliamentary business without a partisan deal on Assembly organization.
The rival parties are at odds over the naming of chairpersons for the Assembly's 18 standing committees, including a key seat for the Legislation and Judiciary Committee.
Before the walkout, UFP floor leader Joo Ho-young said holding a plenary session in the absence of a partisan agreement is unlawful.
Joo said if the DP believes it can pursue whatever it wants with 177 seats in the 300-member parliament, the Assembly will start off on the wrong foot against public demand to handle national tasks in cooperation and coexistence.
DP chief deputy floor leader Kim Young-jin condemned as unconstitutional the UFP's argument that a plenary session cannot be held without a deal among party negotiation bodies.
Without the UFP's participation, the DP and minor opposition parties elected six-term DP Rep. Park Byeong-seug as the speaker for the first two-year term of the Assembly and fourth-term DP Rep. Kim Sang-hee as one of two deputy speakers.
Voting did not take place for the other deputy position, which belongs to the main opposition.
It is the first time that the speaker and deputy were elected in the absence of the main opposition since relevant laws were enacted in 1994.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.