by. Bong Eun Seo
February 23rd, world’s longest filibuster began in the 19th Korean national assembly. It was started by the opposition parties, who were against the new bill called anti-terrorist legislation. Starting from Kim Gwang Jin, total 38 members of the assembly participated in unlimited debate. They took turns and continued the speech, breaking both Korean and world record of the longest unlimited debate and leaving a new record of 192 hours and 27 minutes, and finally ended on March 2nd. This amazing record is still the biggest issue in Korea now.
The word filibuster is described as “A parliamentary procedure where debate over a proposed piece of legislation is extended, allowing one or more members to delay or entirely prevent a vote on the proposal” (Filibuster). It is a form of legal obstructionism, where a minor party hinder the vote by continuous speech. This is possible because interrupting another member’s speech is against the law. People usually do this to stop the major party from passing an unreasonable bill by superiority in number. Since it is a very special form of expressing the minorities’ opinion, it is very controversial.
There are people who support filibuster. When filibuster ended, The main reasons why those people think it is great are public participation and unity of the opposition. First of all, filibuster lead to more attention and participation of the public on politics. Members of the opposition showed that it was possible for the minority to express their opinion without any violence involved. This became a chance to change the way how people view the assembly and the politics. Some of the people who thought participating in politics was practically only for the major party changed their mind, looking at the minor parties’ speech. For example, one of the citizens wrote “One of the assembly member who made a speech looked like she was fighting back her tears. I’m ashamed that I was one of the people who don’t understand how the assembly was working hard for the public” (Un Joo). Also, the unlimited debate became an opportunity for the minor parties to unite, so that they can more effectively express their opinion. Kim Jong In, the representative of the emergency planning committee, said, “Filibuster is the only mean for the minor party to hold the major party in check. Most of the citizens didn’t even know what was filibuster, but they understood that it is the best way for the minor party to stand against the major party in the assembly” (In Beom).
On the other hand, there are people who are against filibuster. The biggest reason why some people oppose to filibuster is that the national assembly isn’t something that the assembly should do for the nation. National assembly is a place where laws are made and corrected for the citizens’ comfort, happiness, and welfare. Some people, including the president says that the assembly isn’t fully discharging their duty and even trying to hinder the passing of legislation which will help the country. President Park said, “How can we ask for support from the citizens when the assembly is blocking the legislations by filibuster” (Hye Jeong). She also said “No country in the world has ever had this kind of phenomenon” (Beom Soo), hitting the table several times showing she is upset.
I personally support filibuster, because it has shown the public that the minority has a chance to raise their voice and change the world. Until now, many people have thought that there was no chance for the public to actually participate in the politics. However, the recent filibuster showed that the minorities can delay an unreasonable bill from getting passed and show the public that it is able to stop things like that. Even though it finally failed to stop the bill from passing, I believe it showed the hope that the minority has the power to change a situation.
(photo credit : http://namu.mirror.wiki/w/%ED%8C%8C%EC%9D%BC:NISI20160223_0011384786.jpg)
Beom Soo, Shin. “President Park Giving a Bashing To the Assembly, Hitting the Table.” The Asian Economics. Web. 9 March 2016. (In-text reference : Beom Soo)
Hye Jeong, Choi. “President Park Hits the Table About Ten Times.” The Hankyoreh. Web. 9 March 2016. (In-text reference : Hye Jeong)
In Beom, Gang. “Kim Jong In Says, “Filibuster Is the Only Method For the Minor To Stand Against the Major.” Web. 9 March 2016. (In-text reference : In Beom)
Un Joo, Lee. “Lee Un Joo From Assembly, Stands As the 28th Runner of the Filibuster.” NaverBlog. n.p., 1 March 2016. Web. 9 March 2016. (In-text reference : Un Joo)