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Parliament unlikely to pass annual budget on time for 11th year in a row

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's National Assembly is unlikely to pass next year's annual budget as prescribed by law for the 11th year in a row, as parties are locked in bitter political wrangling over a host of issues, observers said Sunday. The legal deadline set by the Constitution for the passage the 2014 budget falls on Monday, but there seems to be little hope of the spending plan being approved, with fears mounting that Seoul may have to draw a provisional budget for the first time in history.

Parliament unlikely to pass annual budget on time for 11th year in a row

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's National Assembly is unlikely to pass next year's annual budget as prescribed by law for the 11th year in a row, as parties are locked in bitter political wrangling over a host of issues, observers said Sunday. The legal deadline set by the Constitution for the passage the 2014 budget falls on Monday, but there seems to be little hope of the spending plan being approved, with fears mounting that Seoul may have to draw a provisional budget for the first time in history.

Park says S. Korea's economy could suffer a setback unless the budget is passed by parliament

SEOUL, Nov. 28 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye said Thursday South Korea's economy could be dealt a harsh blow unless the national budget for next year and a series of economic revitalization bills pass through parliament in time. Park made the remark while presiding over a meeting of the National Economic Advisory Council, saying it is important to keep the hard-won momentum for economic recovery alive with government spending and other measures to back up the recovery.

Ruling party introduces motion for expulsion of leftist lawmaker

SEOUL, Nov. 28 (Yonhap) -- The ruling Saenuri Party on Thursday introduced a motion calling for the expulsion of a leftist lawmaker accused of treason, but faced immediate resistance from the main opposition party. The motion calls for the expulsion of Rep. Lee Seok-ki of the minor opposition Unified Progressive Party (UPP), who is currently on trial on charges of plotting to overthrow the government. Lee is accused of leading a clandestine organization with suspected links to the North Korean regime.

Ruling party steps up bid to expel leftist lawmaker

SEOUL, Nov. 20 (Yonhap) -- The ruling Saenuri Party has asked the parliamentary ethics committee to convene a meeting next week to discuss its motion for the expulsion of a leftist lawmaker accused of treason, a ruling party lawmaker said Wednesday. The motion calls for the expulsion of Rep. Lee Seok-ki of the minor opposition Unified Progressive Party (UPP), who is currently on trial on charges of plotting to overthrow the government. Lee is accused of leading a clandestine organization with suspected links to the North Korean regime.

Auditor general calls for independent review of MPs expense claims

OTTAWA - Canada's auditor general is calling for an independent body to review the expenses of members of Parliament — and is offering to do the job himself. Michael Ferguson told a House of Commons committee Tuesday an independent body would make MPs more accountable and boost public confidence shaken by the Senate spending scandal. Ferguson was testifying before the House affairs committee, which is reviewing the way spending in the Commons is monitored and audited.

Booting outcast senators from pension plan invalidates suspension vote: lawyer

OTTAWA - The suspensions of three senators will be invalidated if the government retroactively changes the law to preclude them from the parliamentary pension plan, Pamela Wallin's lawyer said Friday. The law is crystal clear, Terrence O'Sullivan said: the time Wallin, Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau will spend under suspension must count toward the six years of service they need to qualify for a generous pension.

Alberta's Redford co-opting government machinery for party ends, opposition says

EDMONTON - Alberta Speaker Gene Zwozdesky says he will study and make a ruling as early as Wednesday on whether Premier Alison Redford's government broke parliamentary rules by prematurely spilling the details of its new transportation bill. Opposition leaders say regardless of the outcome, the bill's handling reflects a trend under Redford to co-opt the machinery of government for partisan political ends, with legislation rolled out like election ads complete with splashy press conferences, smiling faces and big signs — all billed to the taxpayer.

Campaign spending dispute goes to committee; Tory MP could be suspended

OTTAWA - The House of Commons has instructed a standing committee to look into a dispute between Elections Canada and Manitoba Tory MP James Bezan that could result in his voting privileges being suspended. The chief electoral officer wrote to Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer last spring asking that Bezan and fellow Conservative MP Shelly Glover be stripped of their privileges because of problems with their campaign expense reports. Glover subsequently filed a new report and has resolved the issue, but Bezan — who insists he's done nothing wrong — is going to court.

Ethics czar issues new guidance to ministers, parliamentary secretaries

OTTAWA - It may be appropriate for a minister or parliamentary secretary to try to sway a government decision when it is a matter of importance to their constituents, says the federal ethics commissioner. In issuing the new guidance, Mary Dawson says a cabinet member or parliamentary secretary might wish to speak out or make representations to another minister in the interests of their constituency, since they also have responsibilities as MPs.
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