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The National Assembly Futures Institute publishes reports that predict and analyze the changes in the future environment based on a comprehensive perspective, and derive mid- to long-term national development strategies in consideration of the preferences of the citizens
A Study on Ways to Raise Trust in the National Assembly

Date : 2019-12-31 item : Research Report 19-19] P.I : Jung Young-hoon & Park Sang-hoon

The National Assembly Futures Institute had consultations with the research directors of policy research institutes of five political parties from January to April 2019, and agreed on the subjects of joint research, division of the roles by institution, and plans for research promotion. Between April and May of the same year, NAFI and the five institutes concluded a commissioned research agreement, getting the study under way.

NAFI compared and analyzed the surveys on national trust in the parliament conducted in major countries and carried out a survey on the public perception of the National Assembly and a survey for National Assembly assistants. Among the countries that conducted surveys, the highest levels of trust in the parliament were observed in the countries with a low level of democracy or those in the early stage of democratic development where expectations for democratization are high and such countries included Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.

In Korea, until the early 1990s, two-thirds of all respondents expressed confidence in the National Assembly. Since the 1990s, democratically advanced countries have seen public trust in the parliament gradually declining. Countries such as Sweden, Finland, New Zealand, Germany, and the Netherlands, which have a parliament-centered political system and an electoral system based on proportional representation, fared better in terms of higher levels of trust in the parliament compared to the UK and Japan. Some of the representative countries with a stable democracy and a low level of trust in the parliament include the US and Korea that have a presidential system, and among the parliament-centered countries, Japan and the UK were surveyed as countries where the citizens have a low level of trust in the parliament.

The biggest lesson learned from the surveys on the perceptions of the general public and the National Assembly assistants and the commissioned research with the five parties is that the National Assembly should focus on important things, rather than simply do a lot of work, and that Korea needs a parliamentary democracy where lawmakers who propose "better" bills, rather than "more" bills, are more respected and appreciated.

While the average total number of annual parliamentary session days in advanced democratic countries is around 150 days, that of the 16th and 19th Korean National Assembly is 283 days. In terms of the proposal and passage of bills, the Korean National Assembly was found to propose and pass the most bills in the world. Therefore, the focus of attention should be shifted from increasing the number of session days and passing more bills into concentrating on valuable and important work.

Various demands were raised in the joint research with the policy institutes of five political parties. First of all, at the committee level, plans to focus the deliberation capabilities of subcommittees and standing committees and the capabilities of National Assembly support organizations on important agendas, as well as plans to activate joint meetings of subcommittees and related committees and all committee meetings were discussed. Regarding the parliamentary inspection of the administration, plans to make the extraordinary meeting in July-August a "settlement and inspection session" and to abolish the current regulation limiting the period of the parliamentary inspection to within 30 days in order to let each committee conduct the inspection of the government offices assigned to them.

Regarding the proceedings of the National Assembly, discussions were made on the necessity of the peaceful settlement of conflicts in accordance with the National Assembly law and measures for making negotiation and cooperation the basic norm of the National Assembly. In addition, there have been attempts to derive systemic reform tasks and seek consensus that are deemed necessary to increase the national trust in the National Assembly. A total of 20 proposals for reform were made through each party research institute, and based on these proposals, it was decided to develop the purposes and goals of the inter-party joint research between in 2020 as well.