Gov‘t proposal calls for maximum of two four-year presidential terms

Mar 23, 2018, 09:00 am

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Cho Kuk, senior presidential secretary for civil affairs (center), announces the government proposal on constitutional amendment at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Thursday./ Source: Yonhap News

By AsiaToday reporters Joo Sung-sik & Park Ji-sook 

President Moon Jae-in's constitutional amendment proposal calls for changing the current single five-year presidential term to a maximum of two consecutive four-year terms. Under the proposal, some of the presidential powers will be dispersed while the prime minister's and the National Assembly's powers will be strengthened.

Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday revealed the final part of the government's constitutional amendment proposal with Cho Kuk, senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, Jin Sung-joon, presidential secretary for political affairs, and Kim Hyeong-yeon, presidential secretary for legal affairs, in attendance. 

The government form (power structure), which was the major issue of the constitutional amendment, was confirmed to be a possible two-term, four-year presidency in the proposal. Instead, the revision bill includes provisions to curtail or disperse presidential power. It removed the symbolic reference to the president as the head of the state, and reduced the president's personnel right by passing the right to appoint the chief justice of the Constitutional Court to the justices so they could name their own chief among themselves. The Board of Audit and Inspection would be separated from the presidential office as an independent institute. 

Under the proposal, the authority of the prime minister's office would be strengthened by deleting the phrase "under the orders of the president" used in references to the duty of a prime minister. The National Assembly would be given more power with more legislative and budget revision rights. 

The proposal also includes provisions for reorganizing the electoral system with the government's judgment that the current system does not fairly represent voters' opinions due to excessive invalid ballots votes. In order to solve this problem, the revision bill states the principle of proportionally sharing Assembly seats in accordance with the voters' will. The proposal also calls for lowering the voting age to 18.

"The beginning and end of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea is the people, and the content of the new constitution should be decided according to the will of the people," Cho said. "It is now time for the National Assembly. We ask the National Assembly to fully discuss and review the presidential constitution amendment proposal in full accordance with the will of the people with sovereignty and the authority of the National Assembly."

Despite Cheong Wa Dae's appeal, the confrontation between the ruling and opposition parties on the presidential revision bill is expected to intensify. Chief presidential secretary for political affairs Han Byung-do visited political parties to brief them on the bill. However, opposition parties, including the largest opposition party LKP and the minor liberal Party for Democracy and Peace, refused Han's visit.

#government proposal #amendment #constitution #Moon Jae-in #presidency 
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