South Korean president increases pressure on parliament to pass bill on constitutional revision

By Jennie Oh  |  March 13, 2018 at 7:23 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

SEOUL, March 13 (UPI) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in has dialed up pressure on the National Assembly to come up with a proposal to amend the country's constitution if it doesn't want to consider a government-drafted bill.

This came as a special advisory committee on constitutional revision on Tuesday presented a government proposal for constitutional changes to the presidential office.

The draft document reportedly includes a change to the single five-year presidential term, revising it down to four years with one re-election.

It also seeks to increase the power of local governments through decentralization.

Moon has been pushing for lawmakers to pass a bill including such changes as soon as possible so that a referendum on the constitutional revision can be held alongside the local government elections in June.

He reminded lawmakers Tuesday that all political parties running in the presidential race last year had all promised to hold a simultaneous ballot on constitutional reform during the upcoming June elections.

Expressing regret that no progress had been made on this front, the president said the government will take the initiative of tabling a bill next week, after building on the draft submitted by the special advisory panel.

However, he said the government's move may be withdrawn if parliament comes up with it own proposal.

Political parties clashed over the ultimatum, Hankook Ilbo reported.

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party argued that a constitutional revision should be put forward by the legislature, without the intervention of the presidential office.

"The president's move to table the motion will not only leave a blemish on the Republic of Korea's constitutional history but also amount to a coercive act of kicking out the people-led revision scheme," Kim Sung-tae, the LKP floor leader told Yonhap.

The LKP also insisted that the government's proposed changes to the presidential term would only increase executive authority by allowing reelection.

The minor opposition Bareunmirae Party also called for a parliament-led revision bill, saying the top office should keep out of constitutional amendments.

Ruling Democratic Party floor leader Woo Won-shik urged lawmakers to speed up the drafting of a proposal and accused the LKP of blocking progress and prompting the government to step in.

To pass the motion for constitutional amendment, two thirds of the total 293 parliamentary members must vote in favor, followed by a majority of public in a referendum.

As the ruling camp holds 121 seats in parliament, it needs to procure the opposition bloc's support to pass a revision bill.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories