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Parliament passes economic bills after deadlock broken

The National Assembly passed bills linked to livelihoods of ordinary people Friday as rival parties put parliament back on track after a weeklong hiatus amid partisan conflicts.

Lawmakers approved 90 proposals, including a revised bill aimed at protecting and supporting small merchants, at a plenary session earlier in the day.

A session was originally slated for last Thursday, but the main opposition Liberty Korea Party and the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party boycotted it to protest President Moon Jae-in's appointment of the environment minister without parliamentary consent.


The deadlock was broken as the ruling Democratic Party and the two conservative parties agreed Wednesday to conduct a parliamentary probe into allegations of nepotism at public firms.

The assembly's review of the government's 2019 budget proposal hit a snag as rival parties sparred over an estimated shortfall in tax revenue at a meeting of the sub-panel on the budget earlier in the day.

A legal deadline to review the government's record 470.5 trillion won ($416.5 billion) budget bill is Dec. 2.

The government said that it expects a shortfall of some 4 trillion won in tax revenues next year due to tax cuts, including a temporary reduction in fuel taxes. The main opposition Liberty Korea Party claimed that the government should submit a revised budget proposal that takes the tax shortfall into account.

The government is pushing for expansionary fiscal spending next year to prop up the slowing economy and buttress President Moon's peace initiative with North Korea.

The proposal includes a record 23.5 trillion won in funds for job creation and increased expenditures on social welfare and inter-Korean projects. (Yonhap)