Yoon rejects 4 more bills, bringing total veto count to 14

Posted on : 2024-05-30 17:35 KST Modified on : 2024-05-30 17:52 KST
This is approaching the total number of vetoes exercised by all his predecessors combined: 16
President Yoon Suk-yeol stands with UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan on the front lawn of the presidential office in Seoul on May 29, 2024, for a welcome ceremony for the latter’s state visit. (Yonhap) 
President Yoon Suk-yeol stands with UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan on the front lawn of the presidential office in Seoul on May 29, 2024, for a welcome ceremony for the latter’s state visit. (Yonhap) 

President Yoon Suk-yeol vetoed four bills presented by the National Assembly on Wednesday, including one to aid victims of housing scams and another to recognize additional figures as having contributed to Korea’s democracy. Yoon has vetoed a total of 14 bills since taking office. 

During a Cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on Wednesday, Yoon vetoed a bill to revise legislation on fraud and scams that exploit South Korea’s jeonse key money system, which allows tenants to pay property owners a large deposit in exchange for a reduction or elimination of monthly rental payments. He also vetoed amendments to the Act on the Honorable Treatment of Persons of Distinguished Service to the May 18 Democratization Movement and to a bill that would increase state subsidies to domestic cattle farmers, or the Act for a Sustainable Domestic Beef Industry.  

There was also a bill calling for a revote on the establishment of a public organization that represents the domestic agricultural and fishing industries, which Yoon sent back to the National Assembly.  

These are all bills that were passed by the Democratic Party and other opposition parties on the previous day after a walkout by members of the People Power Party. But as the term of the 21st National Assembly concluded on Wednesday, the bills were thereby automatically terminated without a revote.  

A bill to amend legislation for providing compensation to the families of the victims of the Sewol ferry tragedy was passed as is.  

The presidential office had announced that Yoon planned to exercise his vetoes on the housing scam and contributors to democratization bills while deferring to the decisions of his party regarding the remainder of the bills.  

Choo Kyung-ho, the floor leader of the ruling People Power Party, said that the three main bills couldn’t be passed allowed to pass in their current state, declaring they lacked “sufficient legal review, societal discussion, and bipartisan consensus.” Choo advised Yoon to veto these three bills, but did not call for a veto on the Sewol bill.  

“While we are open to a five-year extension of the terms of the original Sewol bill, ruling power legislators informed us of the lack of fairness, the legal flaws, and the potential for blowback from the agricultural industry when it came to the other bills,” said a high-ranking insider of the presidential office.  

Yoon, who is entering his third year in office, has vetoed a total of 14 bills. This is approaching the total number of vetoes exercised by all his predecessors combined: 16 (Roh Tae-woo 7, Roh Moo-hyun 6, Park Geun-hye 2, Lee Myung-bak 1).  

The political opposition vehemently protested Yoon’s vetoes. During an internal meeting of high-ranking party members, Park Chan-dae, the floor leader of the Democratic Party, stated, “The continuous exercise of the presidential right to veto will only accelerate his administration’s downfall.”  

Kim Seong-yeol, a senior spokesperson of the Reform Party declared, “There are no brakes on this runaway train, and there are no wings on Yoon’s plummeting support ratings. If he does not restrain himself, the people will have no choice but to directly intervene.”  

By Jang Na-rye, staff reporter; Um Ji-won, staff reporter 

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr

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