S Korean parliament to hold plenary session after row over budget bill

15:17, December 21, 2009      

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South Korea's ruling and main opposition party lawmakers on Monday agreed to hold a three-day plenary session after days of a parliamentary deadlock over next year's budget plan.

The governing Grand National Party (GNP) and the opposition Democratic Party (DP) discussed parliamentary proceedings for December extra session and decided to hold a main session starting next Tuesday, according to local media.

The breakthrough follows days of a standoff between the two sides over the budget request for next year, with the country's four-river restoration plan, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's key policy pledge, being a hot-button issue.

In a rare accord, the two sides agreed to put further efforts in passing the budget request by the end of the year, although the DP's stern opposition to approve the budget set aside for the restoration project still remains a roadblock, according to media reports here.

Other pending issues, including extension of troop dispatch to waters off Somalia, will also be discussed during the plenary session, local media said.

The governing party, which holds a solid majority in parliament, backs up the plan to revamp the country's four major rivers, while minor oppositions, Democratic Party and Democratic Labor Party, oppose the move on concerns over environmental issues and accuse the GNP of trying to ram through the budget proposal.

South Korean parliament paralyzed last week when opposition party members forcibly occupied a special budget committee chairman's seat and lawmakers engaged in scuffle.

Source: Xinhua
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