National Assembly to kick off 30-day parliamentary session on Tuesday

2월 임시국회 개회... 오늘 오후 본회의
The first parliamentary session of the year will kick into gear this afternoon.
It's going to be another jampacked session -- from an interpellation session to talks on amending the Constitution.
Kim Min-ji reports.
It's a clean state for the National Assembly.
The parliament will kick off its first parliamentary session of the year on Tuesday afternoon -- and it will run until the end of February.
The session will start with a full floor meeting -- but unlike usual times,... when it's marked with an opening ceremony,... lawmakers will also vote on a number of urgent bills.

"We usually don't do this following the opening ceremony, or after policy speeches by party leaders. But today, I have decided to do so, in a show of self-reflection for not handling this at an earlier date despite its urgency.

The bills include ones on fire-prevention -- in the wake of mounting calls to revise related laws following a hospital fire in Miyrang last week that killed 39 people.
Also on the itinerary for the month-long session are policy speeches by the leaders of the major parties,... as well as an interpellation session -- where lawmakers will probe top government officials on various areas, including foreign affairs, economy and social issues.
Rival parties will also hold full floor sessions on February 20th and 28th to vote on pending bills related to people's livelihoods.

But, with many sticking points ahead -- it remains to be seen if the rival parties can get around their differences for the session to bear fruit.
For starters,... the ruling Democratic Party of Korea wants to complete negotiations on a Constitutional amendment by February.
The party is on a tight schedule as it wants to hold a referendum in tandem with local elections in June.
The ruling bloc said if lawmakers fail to reach a compromise on reducing the powers of the president -- they should at least carry out a revision on other areas, such as strengthening basic rights and boosting regional automony.
But the main opposition Liberty Korea Party is strongly against the idea of holding both votes at the same time,... saying it will politicize the issue.
The party adds that without a change to the power structure -- the amendment is meaningless.

Another area of dispute is the government's policies aimed at improving people's lives.
A recent tit-for-tat was sparked following the Miyrang fire -- with rival parties playing the blame game.
Other issues subject to debate include the recent minimum wage hike, a real estate bubble and cryptocurrency regulations.
While the Democratic Party of Korea will roll up its sleeves to defend any possible fallout from these,... the Liberty Korea Party is likely to point out the mishaps and lay out counter proposals.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.

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