PPP proposes relocating Nat’l Assembly hoping to boost waning support

Han Dong-hoon, center, interim leader of the ruling People Power Party (PPP), holds his arms up with PPP candidates contesting for constituencies in Incheon's Michuhol District during a canvassing event at Michuhol, Wednesday. Joint Press Corps

The ruling People Power Party’s (PPP) abrupt proposal to relocate the National Assembly from Seoul to the adminstrative town of Sejong has been met with skepticism by observers, who view it as a move to salvage the party’s falling approval ratings with an attention-grabbing yet hardly-feasible agenda.PPP interim leader Han Dong-hoon announced on Wednesday a campaign pledge to relocate the Assembly to Sejong, emphasizing the city’s status as an administrative hub with numerous ministries and public agencies. The move is positioned as a significant aspect of the party’s platform for the upcoming April 10 general elections.He said while Sejong can be transformed into a political and administrative capital similar to Washington, D.C., redevelopment plans for Yeouido, which is the current location of the Assembly and is also the capital’s finance and investment banking hub, will be accelerated through eased regulations without the legislature, he added.”We will fully relocate the National Assembly to Sejong, not partially, to make the city a political capital. The current parliamentary space will be repurposed into a hub for culture and finance, to be returned to the citizens,” Han said during a press conference.

Hours after Han’s announcement, the presidential office said President Yoon Suk Yeol had pledged to establish an Assembly branch in Sejong during his 2022 election campaign, indicating apparent support for the governing party’s relocation plan.”In a meeting with reporters in the Daejeon and Chungcheong regions in July 2021, the president articulated his belief that the legislative body and administrative organization should be situated in close proximity to each other to enhance the parliamentary system and reinforce the effectiveness of the administrative structure,” the presidential office said in a statement.It also announced plans to accelerate the establishment of a second presidential office in Sejong, aligning with one of Yoon’s campaign pledges.The idea of moving the Assembly to Sejong is not new.Following the passage of a revision bill to the National Assembly Act in December 2021, construction of a regional branch of the legislative body has kicked off in Sejong, aiming to accommodate several of the Assembly’s standing committees by 2030 for more efficiency in collaboration between the Assembly and ministries there.Political commentator Park Sang-byeong viewed the introduction of an accelerated version of this project by the PPP as an attempt to bolster the party’s low approval ratings.”The current election landscape is shifting unfavorably for the PPP, prompting the party to attempt to reverse the situation by introducing new agenda items to attract media attention,” Park said.Wednesday’s press conference by Han was notified to reporters the night before with a vague agenda labeled as “general issues.” The abrupt arrangement and announcement 슬롯게이밍 seemed to be aimed at generating heightened media attention.

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