November 04, 2019 12:48
Minor opposition parties like Justice and Bareun Mirae want the number of lawmakers increased from 300 to 330 to ensure fairer representation, but that would come at a hefty cost to the taxpayer.
This year, each lawmaker takes home a salary of about W150 million (US$1=W1,167). Each has a staff of no fewer than eight secretaries and assistants who cost some W480 million a year in total.
The lawmakers also receive about W100 million in expenses for managing their office and performing their parliamentary activities, so each lawmaker costs taxpayers at least W730 million a year.
That means an increase by 30 would cost an additional W21.9 billion a year.
The opposition parties are saying this could be avoided by cutting salaries and staff, but that is unlikely to find a majority among the National Assembly's fat cats.
Also, public sentiment seems to tend the other way. A poll released last week by the think tank of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party found that 63.3 percent of respondents think even 300 lawmakers are too many.
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