Rival parties clash over constitutional amendment
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Rival parties clash over constitutional amendment

Opposition parties claim… parliament should
be at the forefront of the revision. But with rival blocs wide apart on major sticking
points, it seems unlikely they could come up with their own proposals. Kim Min-ji sheds light on the different opinions
on the process. Pressure has been renewed on the National
Assembly to produce a draft amendment to the Constitution, with the government on track
to submit a version of its own. The ruling Democratic Party of Korea said
parliamentary negotiations on the issue need to be sped up — and called on the main opposition
Liberty Korea Party to stop hindering the discussions. “Parliament has talked enough,… going back
to January last year. The main opposition party needs to say what
it actually wants and not just oppose the government’s proposal. Whatever matters they wish to bring up, we’re
willing to discuss them openly.” The conservative Liberty Korea Party has been
strongly critical of the government drafting a constitutional revision,… saying it couldn’t
be further from the “people-led” process that’s been demanded. The party said the government is not only
making a mistake, it’s missing the point. “The government’s proposal will leave a huge
blemish on the country’s constitutional history. The proposal must be crafted by the National
Assembly to put an end to the imperial presidency. We promise to draft the kind of amendment
the people want.” The centrist Bareun Mirae Party also claimed
that the government’s proposal keeps power centralized in the presidency by allowing
a leader to serve up to eight years, up from the current five. The party also stressed that the so-called
“imperial” system was the reason millions of Koreans joined in last year’s candlelight
protests. “The amendment has not been drawn up with
the agreement of the National Assembly or the people. There are different opinions within the ruling
party,… and a government-led revision ignores the demands of the opposition — it’s a clear
example of imperial-style control.” The minor opposition parties also agreed that
the National Assembly should be at the forefront of the amendment process,… and that amending
the Constitution without changing the authoritative presidential system would be meaningless. “With the president seeking to hold a referendum
in line with the local elections on June 13th,… there’s not much time left for the rival parties
to overcome their differences and craft a proposal. Another hurdle is that the proposal requires
at least two-thirds support of the 293-seat parliament. And the main opposition party holds 116 seats
— more than enough to block it. Whether the government’s proposal will spur
the parties to come up with their own version remains to be seen — they’ve yet to reach
a consensus on either when to hold the referendum… or how to change the presidential system. Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.

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