Constitutional Amendment under tight schedule
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Constitutional Amendment under tight schedule


Our top story this morning… President Park Geun-hye has rolled out her
plans… to begin the process of revising the Constitution to allow presidents to serve
more than one term. Questions are now rising regarding the possible
direction the revision could take. On top of that,… with a presidential election
and parliamentary by-elections set for next year,… will there be enough time to make
the historic changes? With some expert analysis,… Shin Se-min reports. Accepting the people’s and the parliament’s
request, President Park Geun-hye vowed to revise the constitution within her term. If the revision goes as planned, it will be
the first time since 1987 that a constitutional amendment takes place. What should be then the right direction for
the revision? Pundits say the main focus should be on the
people. “The revision of the constitution should put
the people first. Enhancing the spirit of democracy through
bettering the fundamental rights of the people,… while also improving the government structure.” Reshaping the way the country is governed
is also another point. The current single 5-year presidential term
could be revamped to a four-year term open to re-election. The debate will also focus on changing the
system overall, by either adopting a semi-presidential structure,… a mixture of the presidential
and a parliamentary cabinet system, under which more power is given to the prime minister,…
OR just a purely parliamentary Cabinet system like the one Japan has. But the most pressing issue, besides the content
of the amendment, will be finishing the revision on time, especially with a presidential election
coming up next year. The current constitution states that all necessary
procedures for an amendment should take about 110-days. So in accordance to the president’s pledge,
a bill for amendment should be submitted by early January next year, so a national referendum
can take place sometime in April,… right in time for parliamentary by-elections. Once the bill reaches parliament, it’ll be
put on public notice for at least 20 days, and then put for full floor vote within the
next 60-days,… requiring at least two-thirds of parliamentary approval for an endorsement. However, some experts say a constitutional
amendment is not a matter that can be finished within a deadline. “Any given deadline for an amendment will
never be enough. It’s work that requires both rival parties
and the people to meet half way.” While some raise the timing of the constitutional
amendment could be intentional,… as the presidential office has been mired with corruption
allegations involving the president’s closest allies,… the general consensus seems to
be in favor of the move as many consider it was about time the country’s Constitution
reflected the changing times. Shin Se-min, Arirang News.

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