The 19th National Assembly of Korea finished its four-year term Sunday, pulling the curtain down on what critics say is one of the worst-performing parliaments of all time.
It got off to a rough start due to a brewing controversy over surveillance by the state on ordinary people and a rigged election process involving a progressive minor political party.
In 2014, the parliament didn't pass a single piece of legislation for nearly five months amid a political deadlock over a special law advocated by the opposition regarding an extensive probe into the root cause of the sinking in April of a ferry off the southwestern coast of the peninsula. The tragedy claimed over
300 lives and raised questions about public transportation safety.
Earlier this year, the ruling and opposition parties again wrangled over the passage of an anti-terrorism bill that the government said was crucial to protecting its citizens from an ever-growing terrorism threat around the globe, while the opposition parties voiced worries over a possibility of the law being used for political oppression and illegal monitoring of people's lives.
Such infighting among lawmakers continued right up until the end of the parliamentary session.
On Friday, President Park Geun-hye vetoed the revision to the National Assembly Act that was passed despite opposition from the ruling Saenuri Party.
The government believes the revision that allows more hearings would likely put a huge constraint on the administration and allow the opposition to use it as a political tool, but the opposition parties argued it was a better check and balance on the government.
Official data, meanwhile, showed that the outgoing 19th National Assembly opened 34 parliamentary sessions. With the exception of temporary sessions, regular plenary gatherings were convened for 175 days during the past four years.
According to parliamentary data, a total of 18,000 pieces of legislation and resolutions have been tabled, but around 10,000 were thrown out.
Only two petitions for legislation, among 277, were brought to the regular sessions for discussion during the 19th National Assembly. (Yonhap)