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Saenuri Party embroiled in controversy over stamps
DECEMBER 28, 2013 05:59  
In a controversial response to the Dong-A Ilbo`s report that the ruling Saenuri Party`s leadership was keeping its lawmakers` stamps, Saenuri Floor Leader Choi Kyung-hwan said Friday that it was a long practice for the party`s leadership to facilitate the proposal process for bills that the party decided to introduce to the parliament as its unanimous proposal. However, some party lawmakers rebut Choi`s argument, saying that "even a long-time practice must be corrected if it is wrong."

"This cannot be possible," said Kang Seok-ho, a Saenuri lawmaker, said during a party meeting, citing the Dong-A Ilbo report. "The party leadership should give a convincing explanation."

Choi replied by saying that it was a "practice that has continued since the first National Assembly." He argued that the stamps were not officially registered ones and that all political parties had the same practice.

"When the party`s plenary meeting of lawmakers makes a decision, is it possible for party staff to visit each of the 155 lawmakers` offices to get their stamps?" he asked.

However, Kang told reporters that he had no idea about the party`s leadership keeping lawmakers` stamps before the report. "I plan to officially raise issue with the practice because it is against democratic procedures," he said.

Another first-term Saenuri lawmaker said, "When the Saenuri Party submitted to the National Assembly a motion to expel Rep. Yang Seung-jo of the Democratic Party under the names of all of the Saenuri lawmakers, I wondered how it was possible because I did not even agree. A wrong practice should be corrected."

The Saenuri leadership is said to have made stamps for each of its lawmakers soon after the April 2012 general elections. Under the National Assembly law, a bill proposed by an individual lawmaker requires the legislator`s stamp registered with the parliament. However, there is no separate rule for bills of resolutions proposed by the collective names of a party`s lawmakers. As soon as the Saenuri Party decided three motions proposing that an opposition lawmaker be expelled from the parliament, the ruling party`s leadership submitted documents verifying its lawmakers` agreement by using their stamps it was keeping.

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