SEOUL, Rival parties failed Tuesday to reach an agreement over normalization of the deadlocked parliament as the ruling Democratic Party (DP) refused to accept their demand for a parliamentary probe into a hiring scandal at a public subway operator.
Opposition parties are pressing the ruling party to accept the probe into allegations that Seoul Metro, under the city government, gave unfair job favors to its employees.
The DP said that it is open to the investigation, but it will first await the outcome of an inspection by the state audit agency into the subway operator.
National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang held a meeting with the floor leaders of the DP and four opposition parties to discuss the issue.
Earlier in the day, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP), the minor conservative Bareunmirae Party (BP), the liberal Party for Democracy and Peace (PDP) said that they will make efforts to normalize the assembly if the DP accepts the probe.
"The three opposition parties told Moon that if the DP accepts the probe, we will expedite the process for reviewing the government's (2019) budget proposal and cooperate over parliamentary schedules, including handling bills and holding a confirmation hearing on a top court justice," Kim Sung-tae, the LKP's floor leader, told reporters.
The DP and the two conservative parties failed Monday to reach an agreement on the normalization of the National Assembly over the hiring scandal.
The LKP and the BP boycotted a plenary session Thursday, demanding the dismissal of the presidential secretary for civil affairs and the investigation into what they called "hereditary succession of jobs."
The liberal PDP did not join the boycott, but it is in sync with the two conservative parties in demanding the ruling party's acceptance of the probe.
Deepening partisan wrangling is delaying the National Assembly's review of the government's 470.5 trillion won (US$417.7 billion) budget proposal and the passage of key bills on the economy.
Source: Yonhap News Agency