Following President Park Geun-hye’s address before parliament earlier in the day, the National Assembly on Monday began a review of the government’s 400 trillion-won budget for next year.
A plenary session was convened followed by general meetings to discuss the 2017 budget bill by four parliamentary committees ? the legislation and judiciary affairs committee, the strategy and finance committee, the trade, industry and energy committee and the health and welfare committee.
All other parliamentary committees will also hold a review of the budget within this week.
Fierce clashes during the budget review are expected as the ruling and opposition camps are already showing stark differences over key issues, including a hike in the corporate tax rate and the allocated budget for the disputed Nuri free education program for preschoolers.
Piles of thorny political issues will likely further add to the bumpy road that lies ahead, such as a scandal surrounding the president’s close confidant Choi Soon-sil and corruption allegations involving presidential secretary for civil affairs Woo Byung-woo. Rival parties are also engaged in a heated political debate over former Foreign Minister Song Min-soon’s memoir and the death of farmer Baek Nam-ki, who sustained a brain hemorrhage during an anti-government rally last year.
On Sunday, the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea(MPK) vowed to completely eliminate budgets related to the Mir and K-sports foundations from the spending plan.
The MPK also called for a full revision of a creative culture convergence project driven by music video director Cha Eun-taek, who is accused of his inappropriate involvement in state affairs. The government sought a budget of 127-point-eight billion won for the project next year, a surge from some 90 billion won this year.
Source: KBS World Radio