Rival parties to handle special law on ferry disaster at extra session

SEOUL/BUSAN, July 4 (Yonhap) -- Rival parties have agreed to handle a special law on April's ferry disaster during the National Assembly's extra parliamentary session that runs through July 17, according to a floor leader of the ruling party Friday.

The ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), however, are still at odds over various details, suggesting that tho two sides may not be able to pass the law by the end of the extra session.

"NPAD floor leader Park Young-sun and (I) agreed to pass the special law on the Sewol ferry disaster during this extra parliamentary session while we were awaiting to attend the state dinner with Xi Jinping at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae yesterday," the Saenuri Party's floor leader Lee One-koo told Yonhap News Agency by phone.

During a party meeting Thursday, Park also said, "I decided with Saenuri Party's floor leader Lee One-koo yesterday to pass the Sewol special law on July 16."

The floor leaders have also agreed to enact other relevant laws on the ferry disaster during the next parliamentary extra session, according to sources at the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, family members of those who died in the sinking held a press conference at the Busan Metropolitan Council in the southern port city of Busan, demanding the parties immediately reach an agreement and begin the investigation.

A group of some 20 bereaved family members has been traveling on a tour bus across the country in protest of the parliamentary deadlock.

The 6,825-ton Sewol sank off the country's southwest coast on April 16, leaving more than 300 people dead or missing. Most of the victims were students from a high school near Seoul on a field trip to the southern resort island of Jeju.

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