National Assembly passes extra budget proposal, special probe bill

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Published on 21 May 2018, 9:58
드루킹 특검•추경, 국회 본회의 통과

Two highly contested bills are passed at the National Assembly.
The extra budget... and another that calls for a special probe into an online opinion rigging scandal.
Rival parties have been locking horns over the specifics for too long, so it's about time.
Kim Min-ji brings us the positive developments from parliament.
The National Assembly on Monday gave the greenlight to the government's extra budget proposal... as well as a bill that calls for a special probe into an online opinion rigging scandal.
Rival parties had agreed to vote on both issues simultaneously -- the ruling party okaying the special probe bill.... in exchange for the opposition passing the extra budget proposal -- as part of a deal to end a 42-day standstill at parliament.

The revised extra budget bill -- which will mainly be used to breathe life into the ailing job market -- is roughly 20 million U.S. dollars less than the initial government proposal of 3-point-6 billion dollars -- after some areas were cut, and others expanded.
The passage comes 45 days after the government submitted its proposal,... and is the second supplementary budget under the Moon Jae-in administration.

As for the special probe -- the investigation will last for 60 days,... with a possible one-time extension of 30 days.
The Korean Bar Association will recommend four special prosecutor candidates -- of which the opposition bloc will select two -- while the final pick will be made by the president.
Also on the team will be three assistant independent counsels, 13 prosecutors and 35 inspectors.

The scandal revolves around a blogger -- known better as "Druking" -- who used a computer program to manipulate internet comments on political news articles... with mounting speculation that he may have been engaged in rigging activities in the run up to last year's presidential election.
What's been another issue is that Druking is also known to have ties with Kim Kyoung-soo -- a former ruling party lawmaker and a close friend of President Moon Jae-in,... and there are new reports that he met with another close aide of the president.
It will be first independent counsel probe under the current government... and the investigation will likely start after the local elections scheduled for June 13th.

Although getting these two bills off their plate is expected to somewhat calm the dispute between rival parties... there's concern of another dispute brewing.... as the legal deadline to vote on the government's proposal to amend the Constitution -- which is sitting at parliament -- is this Thursday.

"The ruling party says that the vote needs to happen, even though a referendum can't be held alongside the local elections,... but opposition parties say they will demand that the president withdraw his proposal as it will likely be voted down. Kim Min-ji, Arirang News."

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