SEOUL, Rival parties are likely to fail to meet the deadline for agreeing on electoral districts for next year's general elections as they still differ on broader electoral reform proposals.

Friday is the deadline by which a parliamentary panel commissioned by the state election watchdog should submit a proposal on the demarcation of constituencies to the parliamentary speaker.

The National Assembly should then finalize the electoral precincts at least a year before the general elections, which is set for April 15, 2020.

The ruling Democratic Party (DP) and three minor parties are seeking to reach an agreement on an electoral reform bill and fast-track it by Friday, but they have yet to narrow their differences on the details.

The National Assembly is widely expected to continue its tendency to miss deadlines due to partisan tensions.

The DP and smaller rivals are seeking to jointly draw up an election reform bill and fast-track it, despite the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP)'s objection.

The main bone of contention is whether to introduce a mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation system, in which parliamentary seats are tied to the percentage of voters' support for different parties.

The National Assembly can designate a bill that fails to get bipartisan support as a fast-track proposal if three-fifths of lawmakers approve the move. This is aimed at preventing a proposal from remaining pending in parliament too long.

But a compromise on the fast-track drive appears to be elusive as even lawmakers of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party, the third-largest party, are divided over the move.

The LKP vehemently opposes the other parties' move, pledging to mobilize every means to deter the fast-track bid.

Source: Yonhap news Agency