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National Assembly to vote on 2018 budget bill Updated: 2017-12-05 20:01:26 KST

A long-awaited breakthrough at South Korea's parliament.
Rival political parties will soon vote on the 2018 budget bill, after they reached a tentative agreement over the proposal Monday.
Three days late, but perhaps now finally, on course to be passed.
Our National Assembly correspondent Kim Min-ji has been updating us on the developments.
Let's connect to her right now.
Min-ji what have you got for us.

The National Assembly will soon vote on the 2018 budget proposal.
The plenary session was supposed to begin at 9PM but it hasn't started yet, on delays of general meetings of the opposition parties.
The vote itself was also supposed to take place in the morning, but it was postponed as specifics of the nearly 400 billion U.S. dollar bill were still being fine-tuned.
This comes three days after the legal deadline of December second.
On Monday, rival parties reached a tentative agreement over the budget bill, after days of grueling talks.

The question now is whether it will pass.
The ruling Democratic Party of Korea is short of a majority, with 121 seats so cooperation from the opposition is essential.
At this point the deciding vote is seen as belonging to the center-left People's Party, now with 39 seats after one of its lawmakers was stripped of his title this morning for violating election laws.
The minor party, now that it has a greater say in legislative affairs, is expected to vote in favor of the bill.

But, it's a different story on the conservative side.
The main opposition Liberty Korea Party -- which holds 116 seats -- said despite yesterday's compromise, they are still opposed to key provisions of the bill, with its lawmakers deciding to contest the budget deal.
It's holding a meeting of its own -- to decide whether to boycott the session, or attend to vote against the bill.
The minor opposition Bareun Party, with 11 lawmakers, also says it will vote against the bill stating it is more or less on the same page as the main opposition.
The minor progressive Justice Party, with 6 seats has also been opposed to the budget, but in other areas.

Folding and meeting halfway seems to have taken forever.
They missed the deadline due to a number of sticking points.
Walk us through the compromise they reached on Monday.

Well, the most contentious issue had been the creation of public sector jobs.
The ruling party had initially wanted to add more than 12-thousand jobs, while the opposition demanded the figure be slashed.
Rival parties finalized the figure at 9,475 and the labor force in the public sector will also be redistributed.
Another area of contention was the 2.7 billion dollars to be set aside for small companies to cushion the fallout from next year's hefty minimum wage hike.
Rival parties agreed to keep the budget as it is for 2018, but said the cash support will be changed to indirect forms, like tax cuts, in the following year.
The stability fund for 2019 cannot exceed the figure set aside for next year either.
As for the much-disputed tax reform proposal -- they agreed to raise the corporate tax rate to 25 percent for businesses with taxable profit of more than 300 million dollars, instead of the 200 million proposed by the government.
Hopefully we will see lawmakers reaching an agreement soon, as this is the first budget under the Moon Jae-in administration, that will be used to get his agendas rolling. Back to you.
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