The Korea Times


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[ED] Fair and neutral speaker

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DPK should cede judiciary committee chairmanship to ruling party

The main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) elected five-term lawmaker Kim Jin-pyo as its candidate for the next National Assembly speaker Tuesday. Given that the speaker position usually goes to the party with the most seats, Kim will ultimately assume the speakership.

Rep. Kim, 75, spent most of his career as a bureaucrat in the finance ministry before becoming a legislator in 2004. "I'll do my best to build a parliament that operates based on the democratic principle of the separation of powers and enable lawmakers to fully demonstrate their capabilities," he said. Kim added, "I'll become a speaker who can maintain the authority of the Assembly."

However, it is doubtful if he could be up to the proper role of the speaker, considering what he said while the DPK was electing its candidate. In letters to the party's lawmakers, Kim said, "It would be the mission and fate of the DPK as a majority to strongly hold the Yoon Suk-yeol administration in check. The blood of the DPK runs through my body." In April, he took the lead in ramming through bills to strip the prosecution of its investigative powers.

His statement and deeds certainly go against the principle of fairness and neutrality required of the speaker. Kim should be reminded of why the National Assembly Act prohibits the speaker from having any party affiliation.

The DPK aims to call a plenary session to vote for Kim's endorsement before Sunday. But Kim's confirmation is uncertain as the party is moving to break its earlier promise and keep chairing the Legislation and Judiciary Committee, which is responsible for a last-minute review of any bills. But it is shameless for the liberal party to insist on keeping seats for both the speaker and the head of the judiciary committee despite fierce opposition from the ruling People Power Party (PPP). There will be no future for the DPK unless it reflects on its defeat in the March 9 presidential election and turns over a new leaf.

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