Updated August. 11, 2014 07:15
The National Assembly is held perennially amid a string of extraordinary sessions this year, but efficiency remains very low.
According to the National Assembly, parliamentary meetings were held on a total of 170 days of the 222 days so far this year as of Sunday. After provisional session of the National Assembly, which started in December last year ended on January 3, extra sessions of the National Assembly have taken place every month from February.
Assembly sessions will likely continue during the remaining period of this year. The ruling and opposition parties agreed to hold an extra assembly session immediately after Tuesday next week, when the current 327th plenary session ends. From September 1, an ordinary assembly session will be open for 100 days through December 10.
August is generally a period of recess, but many events are scheduled in August this year. These include a special public hearing by the special committee for parliamentary inspection of the government into the Sewol tragedy from August 18 to 21, and confirmation hearings for nominees of the National Tax Service chief on August 14 and the Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister on August 19. As parliamentary inspections of the government are held separately for different government agencies for the first time this year, the first round of parliamentary inspection will take place from August 26.
Numbers and figures suggest that the National Assembly is an "active parliament," but since May, it has approved no single bill due to the aftermath of the Sewol sinking, the June 4 local elections, and the July 30 by-elections. The ruling and opposition parties agreed to deliberate on a special act on the Sewol tragedy by July 16, but failed to deliver. They agreed to pass the bill by holding a plenary session on this Wednesday, but there is a chance that the bill will fail to pass again due to strong objection by some members of the main opposition party.