President Moon Jae-in’s constitutional revision proposal calls for changing the current single five-year presidential term to a maximum of two successive four-year terms while lowering the voting age to 18. The proposal does not include the opposition parties’ demand that the National Assembly elect the prime minister.
After announcing major points of the proposal in three installments, presidential office Cheong Wa Dae has launched a legal process for the introduction of the proposal by disclosing the full text consisting of the preamble, the main body of 11 chapters and 137 clauses, and supplementary provisions.
Cho Kuk, senior presidential secretary for legal affairs, disclosed President Moon’s proposal on revising the power structure, the election system and the judiciary system, stressing that maintaining the presidency system is the “will of the people.” Stressing the meaning of the 2016 civil movement that ousted corruption and scandal-ridden former President Park Geun-hye and the people’s democratic capabilities, Cho said, “It is time to adopt the system of four-year successive terms, by which more responsible politics will be realized and state affairs can be managed in a more stable manner.”
Cho clearly rejected opposition calls to give the National Assembly the right to name the prime minister, saying it would be little different from a parliamentary cabinet system when a majority of people prefer the presidential system. In addition, the proposal adds supplementary provisions calling for shortening by three months the terms of local government heads to be elected in the upcoming June elections so that the next local government election will be held simultaneously with the presidential election on March 2, 2022.
The proposal also calls for reducing presidential powers by making the Board of Audit and Inspection an independent agency and giving the National Assembly the right to name three of the Board’s nine members. In addition, the proposal deletes the president’s status as head of the state and strengthening the prime minister’s powers by deleting the phrase that says the prime minister conduct his duties “under the orders of the president.”
While lowering the voting age to 18 from the current 19, the proposal also calls for reducing the Supreme Court chief justice’s power over judges’ personnel affairs by transferring the right to name Constitutional Court justices to Supreme Court Justices Council.
After the third announcement of the constitutional revision proposal, Cheong Wa Dae delivered it to National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun and the leadership of each political party, while asking the Ministry of Government Legislation to review it. The administration plans to hold a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon next Monday to vote on the proposal before submitting it to the parliament. “The ball is now in the parliament's court,” Cho said, requesting it to sufficiently debate and review the presidential proposal.