South Korea OK's anti-terrorism law after 193-hour filibuster

The South Korean parliament approved the country's first anti-terrorism legislation on Wednesday after the opposition's delaying tactics of 193 hours of speeches failed to stop the vote.

After nine days of non-stop, marathon speeches and despite protests, the ruling conservative Saenuri Party pushed the legislation through because they have a majority of 157 seats in the 293-member National Assembly, the Yonhap news agency said.

Since February 23, 39 lawmakers from the liberal Minjoo Party and other smaller parties held a round-the-clock marathon of speeches, the Korea Times reported.

The longest speech lasted 12 hours and 31 minutes.

Opposition parties and civil society groups have said the draft legislation infringes on the privacy of citizens and have also expressed fears that the law could be misused to monitor the population.

Lawmakers from the Minjoo Party abstained from voting.

The anti-terrorism legislation outlines the legal basis for intelligence gathering and collecting the personal information of suspects, as well as to freeze their assets.

It also has provisions for an anti-terrorism centre under the control of the prime minister.

President Park Geun Hye has pushed for passage of the bill, citing threats from North Korea after its recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Last update: Wed, 02/03/2016 - 20:09
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