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Democratic Party, Liberty Korea Party reach tentative deal on budget plan Updated: 2018-12-07 02:39:35 KST


A deal finally was struck on the 2019 budget plan on Thursday following days of grueling marathon talks.
It comes four days after the legal deadline of December second.
However, the agreement was reached only between the ruling Democratic Party and the main opposition Liberty Korea Party.

"The 2019 budget will be voted on in a plenary session on December 7th."
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For starters,.. they've agreed to cut some parts of the roughly 420 billion U.S. dollar budget the government was asking for.
Those cuts are in key areas of contention.
The government had been seeking 980 million dollars for inter-Korean projects and over 20 billion dollars for job creation -- which the opposition said was out of the question.

"There will be a cut of more than 4.4 billion dollars in the budget for job creation and inter-Korean projects."
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The two parties meanwhile decided to increase spending on measures to tackle the low birth rate.
Part of that is to give child benefits starting in January to all households regardless of income, if they have children aged five or younger.
And to address the issue of an expected shortfall in tax revenue, the parties said the government will tackle the issue by repaying some debts in advance within this year, and limiting state bond sales next year.

However, the agreement drew strong criticism from the minor opposition parties, whose demands were left out.
They had been calling for the two biggest parties to include reforms to the country's electoral system, but that idea was rejected by the two bigger parties, who said its a separate matter and should not be linked to the budget.

"The two biggest parties are disregarding calls from the people for political reform, and instead have decided in favor of their own interests. The ruling party has rejected the path of political reform.
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The minor opposition parties say they will consider boycotting parliamentary affairs.
But, even without them, the ruling and main opposition party together have a big enough majority in parliament to hold a vote and pass the budget.
For now, it appears that the spending plan will be put up for a full floor vote late Friday evening after the government and the two biggest parties fine-tune the details.
It's just in time, as the 100-day parliamentary session comes to an end this week.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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