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South Korean president suggests end to presidential term limit

She proposed scrapping the five-year single term.

By Ed Adamczyk
South Korean president suggests end to presidential term limit
President Park Geun-hye, here at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul on August 15, 2016, told parliament Monday she recommends ending the five-year single term limit on the presidency. Photo by Yonhap News Agency/UPI

SEOUL, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye called for ending the single, five-year term limit on her country's presidency Monday.

Addressing parliament, the National Assembly, she surprised listeners by her suggestion of changing the limitation on the presidency, part of the country's Constitution enacted in 1987. After earlier stating she had no plans to be involved in constitutional reform, Park said she was convinced policy changes with each new president undermine changes needed to improve South Korea's economic potential. She added that regular policy changes brought on by new leaders hamper relations with North Korea and its nuclear ambitions.

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Plans to change the term limit will be announced by the end of Park's term in 2018, she said, adding that the single term was appropriate as the country moved from a military dictatorship to a democracy but now is "a jacket that no longer fits."

The single-term presidency was enacted to prevent a slide back to military authoritarianism.

Park did not mention a preferred alternative to South Korea's current system, but the plan most frequently mentioned is a copy of that of the United States, in which the president can run for re-election one time, the Wall Street Journal said Monday. It was the first time in her tenure as president she suggested a revision in the Constitution; it coincides with her lowest approval rating.

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