National Assembly of Korea Hopeless Gridlock Explained

The Korean National Assembly will, likely, never be able to pass any significant reform measures because of a recent amendment to law.

The Diplomat has an good article on the issue.  The article notes, in part, that:

 “A recent adjustment to the rules of South Korea’s National Assembly has made passing legislation a herculean effort.

The National Assembly Advancement Act requires three-fifths consent from lawmakers before a bill can be put up for a vote during a plenary session. The act was passed in 2012 with the intention of preventing any one political party from riding roughshod over the opposition with a simple majority. It went into effect last year.

The act also limits the power of the assembly speaker to bring a bill to a vote. Only under conditions of war, natural disaster, or with an agreement between the ruling and opposition parties can the speaker bring a bill to pass.

One could argue, quite convincingly, that the national assembly needed this sort of institutional reform. The assembly had become well known as a place for occasional brawls between ruling and opposition lawmakers. One extreme, but appropriate, exampleis opposition lawmaker Kim Sun-dong setting off a teargas grenade inside the assembly chamber in a futile effort to stop the ruling party from ratifying the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.

However, rather than promote cooperation, the act has created parliamentary gridlock.”

The situation looks like it will be unable to resolved without legislative changes.

Has the National Assembly of Korea become a useless institution?

The full article may be found at: The Tyranny of the Minority in South Korea.

Sean Hayes may be contacted at:

Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. Sean is ranked, for Korea, as one of only two non-Korean lawyers as a Top Attorney by AsiaLaw.

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