South Korea’s new National Assembly opens today

SouthKorea Reuters
Photo: Reuters

South Korea’s Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) will today open the newly elected National Assembly to pick its speaker and deputy speaker.

The nation’s parliament officially convened its first session on Saturday, following April general elections that saw President Moon Jae-in’s DPK win a strong 180-seat majority in the 300-member assembly. The DPK won out over several opposition parties, including the right-wing United Future Party, which suffered a significant loss in seats. Six-term DPK lawmaker Park Byeong-seug is set to be confirmed as the first speaker of the 21st National Assembly, after party rival Kim Jin-pyo decided not to apply for the position.

The ruling DPK will likely seek to consolidate its grip by winning leadership of key committees—including those on legislation, judiciary and budgeting—but will have little time to afford internal conflict. The new leaders must review the nation’s third supplementary budget bill and address a domestic resurgence of COVID-19. As Seoul has already spent billions to soften the pandemic’s impact, extended bickering could have significant economic consequences for a nation that had already suffered its worst economic year in a decade.

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