Top Office Unveils Constitutional Amendment Bill open the window of AOD

Write : 2018-03-25


The presidential office has unveiled this week details of a government-led proposal for revising the Constitution.
The bill seeks to adopt a system in which the president serves a four-year term and can be reelected once.
Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs Cho Kuk said in a press briefing Thursday that the nation adopted the current five-year single-term presidency because it had undergone years of military dictatorship.
He said that South Korea has ushered in a new era with the so-called candlelight revolution, adding that the time has come to introduce a four-year presidential system which allows one reelection. He added that the new system will help realize responsible politics and stable management of state affairs.
Cho particularly noted that even if the presidential system is revised, the change would not apply to President Moon Jae-in.
The government proposal also reduces and disperses presidential power while strengthening the rights of the prime minister and parliament.
The president's title of "head of the state" is dropped while the president’s right to name the chief of the Constitutional Court is also removed, allowing the court justices to elect the chief among themselves.
Meanwhile, the prime minister's powers are strengthened by removing the phrase in the Constitution that says the PM conducts his or her duties "under the president’s order.”
The proposal also empowers the National Assembly with the right to name three members of the nine-member Board of Audit and Inspection. The board, which is currently under the presidential office, will be separated to stand independently.
Earlier Tuesday, the top office announced sections of the amendment bill related to the preamble and labor rights.
The preamble reflects the spirit of three democratic uprisings that took place in 1979 and 1980.
The government draft also seeks equal pay for the same value of work.
In the second part of the revision bill announced Wednesday, what’s called the "public concept of land ownership" drew the most attention.
This notion was first introduced in 1989 but was never written into law.
If the revised Constitution stipulates this concept, the government can collect more land development profits and levy higher taxes on income from real estate.
The proposal also includes a new clause regarding the nation's capital, stating the capital is designated by law.
Despite criticism that the government-led proposal is a move that completely ignores the National Assembly, the presidential office has said the bill needs to be submitted to parliament in order to realize a referendum vote on the amendment at the time of the June local elections, which was President Moon’s campaign pledge.
However, a partisan feud is escalating. The ruling Democratic Party calls for unconditional negotiations between rival camps.
But the main opposition Liberty Korea Party is highly critical saying a constitutional revision controlled by the president is unjustifiable and the proposed bill does not address fixing the imperial nature of the presidential system.
Other parties have also criticized the government’s move, saying that procedural elements are unconstitutional.

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