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Yoon vetoes 4 contentious bills, including on supporting victims of home rental scams

By Yonhap

Published : May 29, 2024 - 20:15

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President Yoon Suk Yeol (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk Yeol (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol vetoed four contentious bills Wednesday, including one requiring the government to support victims of home rental scams, in his 11th to 14th vetoes of a bill since taking office two years ago.

Yoon exercised his veto power by endorsing motions demanding the National Assembly reconsider the bills, which the opposition-controlled National Assembly passed Tuesday despite objections from the ruling People Power Party (PPP).

Yoon had been expected to veto the bills before the end of the current National Assembly's term at midnight, as a bill that has been vetoed during an outgoing Assembly's term cannot be put up for a revote by the incoming Assembly. The bills will now have to be scrapped.

"As a government with the duty to defend the nation and the interests of all people, we cannot help but think deeply about the fact that bills causing enormous financial burden and with the potential to create considerable social conflict and side effects have been passed unilaterally," Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said at the start of an extraordinary Cabinet meeting where the motions were passed. "That is because, in the event these bills are enforced, the harm will be passed on wholly to the people."

Still, the Cabinet promulgated a fifth bill, also passed by the parliament Tuesday, extending support for victims of the 2014 sinking of the ferry Sewol.

Political watchers had expected the government to reject all five bills.

The Sewol bill calls for extending the period of medical expense support for the disaster victims by five years. A total of 304 people, mostly high school students on a field trip, were killed when the 6,800-ton ferry sank off the southwestern coast in April 2014.

The other four bills include a revised special measure aimed at assisting victims of a series of home rental scams, which calls for the state to pay victims their deposits before recovering the money from the landlords.

The DP has pushed for the revision to provide victims with better support measures, but the ruling PPP has argued the state should not use other taxpayers' money to settle damage resulting from transactions between individuals.

Another contentious bill is the Democratic Merit Act, which proposes benefits for former pro-democracy activists who have not yet been designated as national merit awardees.

The PPP argues that this bill is problematic as it could recognize controversial figures, including those who violated the National Security Act, and extend benefits to their descendants.

The remaining two bills call for supporting farmers of the premium "hanwoo" beef cattle and laying the legal foundation for the establishment of a representative group for farmers and fishermen.

The DP has vowed to push for other contentious bills, including a special counsel probe into a Marine's death, in the upcoming 22nd National Assembly.