Top office’s Constitution amendment bill proposes four-year, two-term presidency
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Top office’s Constitution amendment bill proposes four-year, two-term presidency

President Moon Jae-in’s constitutional amendment
plan calls for a four-year, two-term presidency system. The final part of his administration’s amendment
bill, announced on Thursday, also includes plans to reduce presidential power and reform
the election and judicial systems. Hwang Hojun reports. If the government’s proposed revision to the
Constitution is ultimately approved, South Korea will see a major change in role of the
President, the length of his or her term in office, and a shift in the balance of power
between the branches of government. “Now is the time to implement a four year,
two-term presidential system to bring about responsibility in politics and the stable
management of state affairs. This is the will of the people.” Thirty years ago, when the South Korean Constitution
was last amended in 1987, the President’s term of office was limited to five years with
no possibility of reelection. That stipulation was put in as South Korea
came out of a long period of military dictatorship. But today, the Blue House stressed that times
are different now, as exemplified by the so-called “candlelight revolution” and its culmination
last year. The Moon administration said that the Korean
people are way ahead of the nation’s politicians when it comes to the ability to practice democracy,
and so it’s proposing a four-year, two-term presidency. However, the Blue House emphasized that the
new system will be applied starting with President Moon Jae-in’s successor; the government’s
proposal stipulates that Moon’s term will end, as currently scheduled, on May 9th, 2022. If the new system is adopted, the number of
national elections taking place during a single Presidency will change as well. Currently, the national leader’s five years
in office start with the Presidential election, which is then followed by a local election
and a general election. The government’s proposal will have the Presidential
and local elections take place concurrently, starting four years from now,… the general
election serving as a mid-term evaluation. However, the ability of the president to serve
a second term if reelected doesn’t necessarily mean more power to the executive. In fact, the government’s amendment would
significantly curtail presidential power. For example, as of now, the Constitution gives
both the executive and the legislature the authority to introduce bills. That would change — the government’s poposal
gives more authority over legislation to the National Assembly. The President will still be able to submit
a bill… but only with the consent of ten or more lawmakers. Also, the government’s bill seeks to change
the president’s formal, international role. The president will no longer be called the
Head of State, but rather a representative of the state to foreign nations. The government included those changes to respond
to a public outcry over the high concentration of power in the presidency… and the corruption
seen to result from that. The government’s bill will also lower the
voting age to 18. Until now it was 19, contingent on laws passed
by the Assembly. The Blue House ended by urging the National
Assembly to comply with the people’s demands and fully review and discuss the government’s
proposal,… and if necessary,… Parliament should propose its own amendment. The government will submit its proposal on
Monday. Hwang Hojun, Arirang News.

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