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Government of South Korea ROK

(Federal/State Govt. / Local Govt./Govt. Bodies) Seoul KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
Power News
South Korean Parliament returns to work on reforms     
South Korea's Parliament discussed a series of Bills on Wednesday the ruling party says are needed to steer the country through the global economic crisis, after Opposition MPs ended a sit-in protest at the Legislature.?

Opposition Democratic Party lawmakers called off their blockade of the main Parliamentary chamber on Tuesday and ended a three-week protest after agreeing to vote on the reform bills and a free trade pact with the United States in the coming weeks.?

Several Parliament committees were reviewing Bills, officials said.?

President Lee Myung-bak's ruling Grand National Party (GNP), which has a solid majority in Parliament, wants to pass dozens of reform measures, including sweeping tax cuts, easing restrictions on bank ownership and privatising state-run firms.?

Opposition MPs had said that they wanted to block economic reforms they see benefiting big conglomerates and the rich. They also believe the US trade deal will hurt farmers who will lose protection due to market-opening provisions.?

But the Democrats -- in a major reversal -- agreed to put the US free trade deal to a vote after US President-elect Barack Obama takes office later this month.?

Political analysts said Parliamentary approval of the deal was almost certain and the delay was a face-saving measure for the Democrats.?

Polls show that most South Koreans support the trade agreement, which is expected to give the country a leg up over Asian rivals in the major US export market and raise the global competitiveness for domestic sectors such as financial services.?

There has been growing public anger in South Korea at the Parliament impasse as well as frustration among business leaders at the political obstacles to getting economic reforms passed.?
Government of South Korea ROK 's City : Seoul
Government of South Korea ROK 's Country : KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
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