Parliamentary committee rejects revised Sejong City bill

By Park Sae-jin Posted : June 22, 2010, 17:17 Updated : June 22, 2010, 17:17
A parliamentary committee on Tuesday voted down a controversial government revision to the planned relocation of key government offices out of Seoul.

The chairman of the parliamentary committee on land, transport and maritime affairs announced that the revised bill was thrown out by a vote of 18 to 12.

In 2005, then liberal President Roh Moo-hyun, with parliamentary consent, decided to relocate nine government ministries and four subsidiary agencies to Sejong City, located some 150 kilometers south of Seoul, by 2030. The aim was to decentralize the capital city where about one fourth of the country's 49 million population reside and to promote balanced regional development.

The Lee Myung-bak administration has long sought to annul the plan, saying it would split the capital into two, causing administrative inefficiency and wasting taxpayers' money. The government submitted a bill in late March to revise the original plan, making the city an education, science and business hub instead of an administrative town.

The revision has angered the opposition, who accused the government of breaking a promise made to the people.

The bill lost its momentum after the ruling Grand National Party's (GNP) crushing defeat in the June 2 local elections in which it failed to win critical gubernatorial and mayoral spots.//Yonhap

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