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President`s Mistake Could Lead to National Disaster under Current System

President`s Mistake Could Lead to National Disaster under Current System

Posted September. 28, 2003 22:43,   


Rep. Shin Kyung-shik of the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) has pledged to pursue a revision of the Constitution for the parliamentary cabinet system on Sunday, igniting debates on the issue again.

Meeting with reporters at the GNP headquarters on that day, the four-term lawmaker said that since many GNP members have agreed on the need for the constitutional revision, the issue will be raised at the National Assembly after its inspection of government offices ends. He contended that if the president makes a mistake under the current presidential system, it could lead to a national disaster as well as a personal disaster of the president.

"If I get support from many voters in the general elections next year with a pledge to seek the parliamentary cabinet system, it will give momentum to the cabinet system. Because people have developed political sense through successive governments, they could easily adapt themselves to the parliamentary cabinet system," he added.

Rep. Shin said that the parliamentary cabinet system could start after Roh`s term of office ends or the Roh government could adopt some factors of parliamentary cabinet systems. And he also said the problem is whether to strip the president of power provided by the public. His remarks is based on the expectation that more and more people will decide that the current political situation should not be left as it is.

Recently a senior GNP member told reporters that there would be a consensus around the parliamentary cabinet system if the current chaos in state affairs lasts for a long time.

Rep. Shin Kyung-shik is very close to former GNP head Lee Hoi-chang. He served as chairman of the GNP presidential election planning committee last year. In addition, he is also a good friend with Kim Jong-pil of the United Liberal Democrats and works as a connection between Lee Hoi-chang and GNP chairman Choe Byung-yul. Therefore, though he said that it was only his private opinion, his words pack power.

However, first- or second- term GNP members immediately protested against Shin`s words.

Rep. Kim Moon-soo said, "We came to choose our president through a national referendum. It is attributed to the people`s desire for democracy. Now we should not go against public sentiment." Rep. Park Jong-hee argued that if the GNP pursues the parliamentary cabinet system, there would be the criticism that the party aims at power through the cabinet system after repeated failures in presidential elections.

GNP chairman Choe Byung-yul, an advocate of the parliamentary cabinet system, is now sparing words, just saying that it is premature. However, it is said that he keeps an eye on public opinion. In the four-party system, the debates over the new cabinet system are not likely to subside easily.

Yeon-Wook Jung jyw11@donga.com