See More on Facebook

Politics

Moon should reach out to opposition over constitution reform

An editorial in the Korea Herald argues that constitution reform measures are not inclusive enough.


Written by

Updated: March 23, 2018

The latest developments surrounding constitutional amendment show politicians in this country are prioritizing their own partisan interests over the nation.

Blame for the current situation should foremost go to the National Assembly, which has failed to work out a bill after more than one year of discussions.

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party should also take the blame as it has opposed the timetable and dragged its feet, ignoring its agreement to put a constitutional revision bill to a national referendum alongside the June 13 local elections.

The party’s about-face is linked to its strategy for the upcoming elections, as it believes that holding a referendum simultaneously with the local elections would raise the voter turnout rate and therefore work against the conservative party. The assumption is based on past election data, which showed that the turnout rate of young voters who tend to have liberal views is lower than that of older generations.

It is true that the Liberty Korea Party’s tactics have frustrated President Moon Jae-in, who, along with other major candidates in last May’s presidential election, promised to finish rewriting the outdated supreme law by the next local elections.

It is also true that the president, as well as a majority of National Assembly members, is entitled to propose a bill to amend the Constitution. Whoever writes the bill, it has to earn a yes vote from two-thirds of National Assembly members, and then support from a majority of voters in a national referendum.

But it is wrong for Moon to try to push ahead with constitutional amendment based only on his own proposal.

When he said he would prepare his own bill, many thought that he did it with an intent to pressure the National Assembly to hasten its work. That view was strengthened by the fact that the ruling party, which holds only 121 seats at the 293-member National Assembly, cannot get a bill through the National Assembly without the consent of opposition parties.

But Moon is ignoring the reality. According to his aides, the president plans to submit the bill to the National Assembly on Monday.

All opposition parties oppose the plan. Even the Justice Party, which is closest to the ruling Democratic Party on the ideological spectrum, opposes constitutional revision based on a bill proposed by the president.

What is worse is that Cheong Wa Dae has begun an all-out publicity campaign for the bill prepared by a presidential advisory panel, even though it has little possibility of obtaining parliamentary endorsement.

Moreover, it is questionable that Cheong Wa Dae released key elements of the bill over three days, not all at once. Officials said outlining the bill in three parts in as many days was aimed at increasing public interest toward the bill and constitutional revision. That seemed to be nothing but a propaganda tactic.

With the bill having near-zero possibility of being passed by the National Assembly, it might be meaningless to carry out in-depth discussions about its key elements. However, the bill is still sparking controversy.

Components of the presidential bill that sparked the most heated debates include the inclusion of past pro-democracy movements, such as the May 18, 1980 Gwangju uprising, in the preamble of the Constitution; the expansion of labor rights; opening the way for the designation of an administrative capital; and the introduction of public ownership of land.

One of the most controversial issues pertains to power structure, for which Moon’s bill calls for a presidential system in which the president is allowed to have up to two four-year terms.

The Liberty Korea Party opposes the idea for its lack of measures to curb the power of the president. The opposition party prefers a semipresidential system in which power is shared between a president elected by popular vote and a prime minister picked by the parliament.

All these point to the reality that there is little chance of Moon’s bill being passed by the National Assembly. Considering the circumstances, the best way to accomplish the mission to change the outdated basic law is for Moon to reach out to the opposition and work out a realistic compromise on how and when to finish the work.

(This article originally appeared in the Korea Herald)



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


ANN Members
About the Author: Asia News Network is a regional media alliance comprising 24 media entities.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Politics

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam condemn Sunday violence by protesters

Protesters were also attacked by a mob in a department store. Saying that violence would only breed more violence, with everyone suffering as a result, a grim-faced Carrie Lam and her cabinet members on Monday (July 22) publicly condemned the separate acts of violence that shook Hong Kong on Sunday night, the vandalism committed by anti-extradition protesters on a Chinese liaison office, and the brutal attack on protesters and train passengers by an armed mob at Yuen Long Station. At a press conference on Monday afternoon, the Chief Executive blasted the group of radical protesters who had vandalised the exterior of Beijing’s liaison office in Sai Ying Pun, calling it a blatant challenge to national sovereignty. Mrs Lam, who was flanked by key members of her admin


By The Straits Times
July 23, 2019

Politics

Abe aims to revise Constitution following election victory

Revising Japan’s pacifist constitution was one of Abe’s campaign promises. Following the results of the upper house election on Sunday in which the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito won more than a majority of the contested seats, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is also president of the LDP, will focus on the implementation of his campaign promises. Abe aims to hold a national referendum on constitutional revision by September 2021, when his tenure as LDP president expires. The government will also start full-fledged discussions on how to deal with a U.S.-proposed coalition of the willing to guard the Strait of Hormuz in the Middle East. Abe held talks with Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi at the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday afternoon to confirm that the ruling coalition will take all possible measures to manage t


By The Japan News
July 23, 2019

Politics

The Afghan prism in Pakistan – US relations

Despite their best efforts, the Afghan question still clouds US – Pakistan relations. Despite the Indian media’s assumptions of a US strategic volte-face, Islamabad would do well to acknowledge that the Trump administration still views its relations with Pakistan largely through the prism of Afghanistan. President Donald Trump’s desire for an early end to America’s longest war is the principal reason for his invitation to Prime Minister Imran Khan. Pakistan has played a key role in facilitating the Afghan peace process and the US-Taliban talks. These have reportedly made encouraging progress over the past few months. An agreement on the withdrawal of US-Nato troops has evidently been reached between the US and the Afghan Taliban, although no timetable for the withdrawal has been finalised and it is not clear if the troop withdrawal would be commenced before, during or after a political settlement i


By Dawn
July 21, 2019

Politics

Ruling bloc set to keep majority in Japan

The move has significant impact on any attempts to rewrite Japan’s pacifist constitution. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito are set to win the majority of the 124 seats up for grabs in the House of Councillors election, according to tallies by The Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday night after polls closed at 8 p.m. The ruling bloc is expected to maintain its majority in the 245-member upper house, taking into account the 70 seats it holds that were not up for election this year. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is on the verge of securing his sixth successive national election victory, is expected to move forward on issues concerning the consumption tax rate hike and the amending of the Constitution. Abe’s current term as LDP president expires in September 2021. Some LDP members were concerned that the Abe administration wo


By The Japan News
July 21, 2019

Politics

Pro-independence group forms political party in Taiwan

The move will unlikely improve cross strait relations. The pro-independence Formosa Alliance formed a political party on July 20, saying that it hoped to field at least 10 candidates in the legislative election next January and give independence-leaning voters an alternative to the current ruling party. The Formosa Alliance will not compete in the 2020 presidential election, said Lo Jen-kuei, a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, who was elected chairman of the new party. He said the Formosa Alliance was formed not out of dissatisfaction with the performance of President Tsai Ing-wen but rather to give pro-independence voters a choice other than her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). In fact, Lo said, it would be a blessing for the Taiwanese people if the DPP won the 2020 presidential election. He said he hoped to see Tsai team up with former Premier William Lai on the DPP pres


By Asia News Network
July 21, 2019

Politics

Civilian rule officially restored as King swears in Prayut II govt

The government is made up of many of the same advisors and ministers as the previous military government. The new Prayut Chan-o-cha government was sworn in on Tuesday during a ceremony overseen by His Majesty the King, signalling the return of civilian rule after five years following the military coup in 2014. The ceremony took place at 6pm in the Amphorn Satharn Throne Hall, where all 36 ministers were present. In a break with tradition, however, television cameras were not on hand to record the event. The historic occasion marked the first time that HM the King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua, as head of state, together with Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana, has overseen the advent of a new government – the King’s first event of such kind after his Coronation in May. Also new was the venue for the ceremony, which has previously been held in the


By Cod Satrusayang
July 17, 2019