Date
27 May 2017
A lawmaker from the South Korean opposition speaks to a practically empty parliamentary chamber Sunday as part of a record-breaking filibuster. Photo: Reuters
A lawmaker from the South Korean opposition speaks to a practically empty parliamentary chamber Sunday as part of a record-breaking filibuster. Photo: Reuters

S Korean lawmakers set world record for longest filibuster

South Korean opposition lawmakers trying to block a government-backed “anti-terrorism” bill extended a filibuster into a sixth straight day of speeches in parliament Sunday, Reuters reports.

The filibuster began on Tuesday and had continued around the clock for more than 115 hours by Sunday afternoon, making it the world’s longest, the Kyunghyang Shinmun newspaper said.

The marathon session is already double the length of the 58-hour filibuster by 103 members of Canada’s New Democratic Party in 2011.

By Sunday afternoon, 23 lawmakers had spoken for an average of five hours each in opposition to a bill they believe will threaten personal freedoms if passed.

Many carried boxes of documents to the podium at the National Assembly.

Earlier this month, President Park Geun-hye’s office called for parliament to pass the stalled security bill, part of tough action taken by her government amid heightened tension with North Korea following its test launch of a long-range rocket this month and its fourth nuclear test last month.

The opposition wants the removal of a provision in the bill that would give South Korea’s intelligence agency authority to monitor private communications.

Opposition lawmaker Jung Chung-rae spoke for 11 hours and 39 minutes on Saturday, the longest speech of the filibuster thus far.

Some lawmakers have come to tears during their speeches.

One of them sang and another read aloud from George Orwell’s 1984, a South Korean newspaper reported.

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