Moon to deliver a parliamentary speech on constitutional revision next month

Mar 27, 2018, 09:00 am

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Political parties on Monday have agreed to launch negotiations on constitutional revision bill proposed by President Moon Jae-in. Negotiations will begin on Tuesday. National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun (3rd from L) and the floor leaders of major parties pose for a photo on Monday./ Photographed by Lee Byung-hwa

By AsiaToday reporter Joo Sung-sik

South Korea's major political parties have agreed Monday to begin negotiations over a constitutional revision bill submitted by President Moon Jae-in. During a meeting on Monday presided over by National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun, floor leaders Woo Won-shik of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), Kim Sung-tae of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and Kim Dong-cheol of the Bareunmirae Party (BP) dramatically agreed to meet Tuesday to begin earnest negotiations over a constitutional revision.

The floor leaders agreed to hold an extraordinary session of the National Assembly next month. Prior to that, they decided to hold a plenary meeting to conclude the legislature's extraordinary session of March on Friday. In particular, the ruling and opposition parties agreed that Moon can deliver a parliamentary speech on the revision during the extraordinary session next month. They also agreed to allow Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon or Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon to make a speech on the government's supplementary budget bill during the extra session.

Earlier, the government held a provisional cabinet meeting presided by the prime minister and passed a constitutional revision proposal before sending the bill to the National Assembly. The bill was signed electronically as President Moon Jae-in is currently on an official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As a result, Moon has become the third president to propose a constitutional change following former presidents Park Chung-hee and Chun Doo-hwan. It marks the first time since 1980 for a president to propose a constitutional revision.

Cheong Wa Dae submitted the revision bill to the National Assembly at around 3 pm on Monday and revealed the process of public announcement. Chief presidential secretary for political affairs Han Byung-do visited the National Assembly to deliver the bill and said, "In response to the changing times, the government has submitted a constitutional amendment bill reflecting the will of the people." After submitting the bill, Han said, "Cheong Wa Dae asked the Assembly several times to make active discussions before submitting the presidential constitutional amendment bill. Since the proposal is made to keep the 60-day review period, I ask the National Assembly to take this opportunity to discuss the constitutional amendment even more actively."

Immediately after submitting the bill, the president explained why he proposed the revision despite what he called "strong opposition from the opposition parties." He offered four main reasons in a statement read by Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom on his behalf. He said a revised constitution would realize the spirit of the candlelight rally, keep his promise to the people, and save national power and costs due to simultaneous presidential and local elections. He also said it is a constitutional revision not for the president but for the people.

"The people own the Constitution and the final decision to revise the Constitution lies with the people. The constitutional revision proposal I submitted today is only a step in the process to realize constitutional revision. I believe the people will have steady interest in the process of revising the Constitution for the lives of each and every citizen and the future of the economy," the president added.

#constitutional revision #Moon Jae-in #bill #Democratic Party #Liberty Korea Party 
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