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Rival parties not likely to meet deadline for putting joint electoral reform proposal on fast-track Updated: 2019-03-15 18:00:33 KST

Korea's ruling Democratic Party and three opposition parties, but not the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, are still negotiating their joint-proposal on reforming the electoral system on their initial deadline of Friday.

"The four parties will meet today to come up with a final joint-electoral reform proposal.
We were originally supposed to fast-track the proposal today but we needed more time in the negotiation process. We will work to come up with the joint proposal as soon as possible."

Initially, the parties had set Friday as their fast-track deadline as it takes a maximum 330 days to automatically put a contested bill up for a vote at the plenary session.
So the joint-proposal had to be finished by Friday in order to be applied to next year's general elections.
Friday was also the date when the parliamentary panel commissioned by National Election Commission was obliged to submit a proposal on the demarcation of constituencies, as the parliament is supposed to finalize the electoral precincts at least a year before the general election on April 15, 2020.
But with just a few hours remaining in the working day, the deadlines are not likely to be met.
The four parties have generally agreed to adopt the mixed-member proportional representation system, in which parliamentary seats are tied to the percentage of voters' support for different parties, but they still are clashing on the details.
Several lawmakers from centrist Bareunmirae party and the Party for Democracy and Peace are divided over whether to accept the ruling party's proposal of a looser system under which the total number of parliamentary seats would remain at 300, but proportional representation seats would increase from the current 47 seats to 75.
The main opposition Liberty Korea Party has been flatly opposing the introduction of the system.
It held a picket rally early Friday morning calling for other opposition parties not to accept the ruling party's proposal which it claims is a symbol of the end of democracy in the parliament.

"The joint-proposal might not have been ready by Friday's deadline, but there is still room for it to be fast-tracked, as the National Assembly speaker has the authority to shorten the 330 day period to 270 days, buying more time for further negotiations."

Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.
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