2009-12-18

Lawmakers struggle during formation of budget sub-committee for four rivers project

http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/394164.html

Lawmakers struggle during formation of budget sub-committee for four rivers project


While the DP continues strong protest against the Four Major Rivers Restoration Project’s budget, the Cheong Wa Dae has again refused to grant a tripartite meeting

The Hankyoreh Posted on : Dec.18,2009 12:34 KST

The lawmakers from the opposition Democratic Party (DP) occupied the chairman’s seat at the Budget and Accounts Committee in order to prevent the budget of Four Major Rivers Restoration Project from passing at 9:35 a.m. on Dec. 17. Following the DP’s occupation of the chairman’s seat, there was some conflict between lawmakers from ruling Grand National Party (GNP) and DP when GNP lawmakers attempted to pull DP lawmakers out of the seat.

Lee Si-jong, DP lawmaker and representative on the committee, sitting in the chairman’s seat, said “We will wait until the Cheong Wa Dae (the presidential office in South Korea or Blue House) reveals its plans for the Four Major Rivers Restoration Project budget.” Lee added “Without knowing the Lee government’s position on the budget, we cannot allow the formation of the Sub-committee for Adjusting the Budget Bill.” Lawmakers from opposition Democratic Labor Party (DLP) including Chairman Kang Ki-kap joined the DP in efforts to occupy the chairman’s seat.

After occupying the chairman’s seat, Chung Sye-kyun, Chairman of the DP said during a general meeting of lawmakers, “The core of the Four Major Rivers Restoration Project is President Lee Myung-bak, because the GNP is merely acting as the president’s puppet.” Chung added, “It was the right course of action for the main opposition party to occupy the chairman’s seat.” Opposition party lawmakers also engaged in a sit-it demonstration far into the night.

However, Ahn Sang-soo, floor leader of GNP, criticized the DP’s move to occupy the chairman’s seat by saying, “Today the DP was a party of violence and occupation.” Ahn added, “It is right for us to form a Sub-committee for Adjusting the Budget Bill.”

Regarding the proposal made by GNP Chairman Chung Mong-joon of convening a tripartite meeting between President Lee Myung-bak and Chairmen of the GNP and DP to resolve the budget issue of the Four Major Rivers Restoration Project, Lee Dong-kwan, the senior presidential secretary for public affairs, said, “The budget issues should be discussed between ruling and opposition parties.”

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