A long-stalled anti-terrorism bill failed to pass through a parliamentary session late Tuesday due to the main opposition party's marathon filibuster.
Rep. Kim Kwang-jin of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea took the floor to speak at length against the bill that was taken by an assembly speaker to the floor for a vote.
It marks the first time a Korean-style filibuster rule was applied since its adoption in 2012. The rule allows a lawmaker to speak endlessly in order to delay a bill.
Earlier, National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa invoked his authority to take the bill to the floor for a vote that has been stalled for more than a decade.
Since the first draft was filed with the National Assembly following the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 to effectively fight against terrorism, no major progress has been made.
The bill was scrapped every time during previous parliaments due to concern about giving more authority to the National Intelligence Service (NIS), South Korea's top spy agency, and its possible abuse of power.
Under the bill, an anti-terrorism center will be set up under the Prime Minister's Office, but the NIS will have the power to gather the relevant information on possible terrorists and attacks.
The Saenuri Party argues that the NIS should collect and use the information as the agency has expertise, while the Minjoo Party expressed concerns over illegal surveillance of ordinary citizens.
The bill has gained new momentum following North Korea's nuclear test and long-range rocket launch in recent weeks.
President Park Geun-hye has worried possible terror attacks, urging bipartisan cooperation for the endorsement of the bill meant to better protect the lives of South Koreans.
Source: Yonhap news agency