Tue, Dec 30, 2008 - Page 5 News List

S Korean speaker vows to end opposition protest

AGENCIES , SEOUL

South Korea’s parliament speaker vowed to end a protest by opposition politicians to a US trade deal and other measures, and force a vote by tomorrow on reforms designed to boost the economy.

Dozens of MPs have occupied the main chamber of parliament since last week, prompting Parliament Speaker Kim Hyong-o yesterday to issue a midnight deadline for them to end their sit-in.

“I ask the opposition party to leave by midnight. Otherwise, I, as the speaker, will take every possible measure to restore order according to parliamentary law,” he told reporters.

Kim said he wanted to see a vote by the end of the year on measures the ruling party said include the trade deal and privatizing state firms.

South Korea’s opposition Democratic Party has shown no signs of backing down. It has said the financial measures are designed to help major conglomerates and the wealthy.

“We are deeply ashamed at the speaker for siding with the government and the ruling party. He has declared war on the opposition,” Democratic Party spokesman Cho Jeong-sik said in a statement.

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