SEOUL, Political parties failed Monday to narrow their gaps on controversial issues, including the establishment of a special tribunal for a judiciary power abuse scandal.
At a regular meeting, National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang and party floor leaders discussed the creation of the special panel of judges and a possible parliamentary probe into nepotism allegations at the Seoul subway operator.
There is no sign that the ruling Democratic Party (DP) and the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) will make an imminent compromise over the two hot-button issues.
The DP and three minor parties announced last week their push for a motion to set up the tribunal to try a case involving ex-Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae and other senior justices who allegedly used trials in the court's dealings with the presidential office.
The LKP, which did not join the move, claimed that the drive will hamper the principle of the separation of legislative, administrative and judicial powers.
The party is pressing the DP to accept a proposal to conduct a parliamentary investigation into an allegation that Seoul Metro, which is under the city government, has given unfair job favors to its current and former employees.
"Kim Sung-tae, the LKP's floor leader, wants to discuss the special tribunal after parliament pushes to make incumbent Supreme Court Chief Justice Kim Myeong-su step down," Hong Young-pyo, the floor leader of the DP, told reporters after the meeting. "That's absurd."
Hong added that the DP is open to a parliamentary probe into the hiring scandal, but the state audit agency's probe should be prioritized.
"There was no progress at the meeting," said Kim of the LKP. "There was no word about my proposal to adopt a resolution to call for the top court chief's resignation and to discuss the issue the special court."
Bipartisan cooperation is necessary to break the current parliamentary impasse over several key issues.
In particular, the DP needs the LKP's cooperation for parliamentary passage of a proposal to secure the National Assembly's consent for the ratification of an inter-Korean summit deal clinched in April.
The DP commands 129 seats in the 299-member parliament, while the LKP controls 112 posts.
Partisan tensions have heightened since President Moon Jae-in ratified his third summit agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in September and a military inter-Korean deal without parliamentary consent.
The LKP deemed the move a violation of the Constitution, under which ratification of treaties with foreign nations pertaining to national security and needing budget spending are subject to parliamentary consent.
Political analysts expect that the DP and the LKP may seek to trade a possible probe into the hiring scandal with the establishment of the panel. But currently, the LKP rejects the possibility of such a political negotiation.
Source: Yonhap News Agency