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Constitutional Court Declares Capital Move Illegal; Mixed Responses Follow

Constitutional Court Declares Capital Move Illegal; Mixed Responses Follow

Posted October. 21, 2004 23:27,   


The Constitutional Court declared the law for capital relocation unconstitutional on October 21. Responses from all levels of society have been extremely mixed according to their positions and situations.

Civil Groups—

“The decision is a result reflecting the citizens’ will opposing the capital move,” said Choi Sang-chul, co-chairman of the Association of Citizens Against the Capital Move. He also commented that if the government refuses the decision of the Constitutional Court, they would begin both legal and civil fights.

“The government’s plan was against the citizens’ will from the start. But the government forced it on us, only causing feuds and disunion among citizens. Now it is time for the government to apologize,” said the Free Citizen’s Alliance of Korea.

On the other hand, Yoo Seong-chan, administrative director of the National Union of Self-Administration and Decentralization, opposes the decision, arguing that the current decision is anachronistic in that it only cares about convention and disregards the future. “If the decision is based on a common law as the written decision says, why not Kaesung, the capital of the Goryeo Dynasty, or Gyeongju, the capital of the Shilla Dynasty?” he asked.

People Power 21 said, “The Constitutional Court said the decision is based on a common law, which is very disappointing because it is actually a violation of a written law, the separation of the administrative, legislative, and judicial branches of government and representative democracy.”


“In the era of globalization, even though there exist regional imbalances and inefficiency, it is more important to overcome these difficulties first and make the capital area a world-class competitive place,” said Professor Lee Dal-gon of public administration studies at Seoul National University. He also added that the government needs to go back to where it began regarding this issue because the capital move is a serious policy failure.

“Considering that the capital move could be a huge economic burden to the nation, it is necessary for the government to pause for a while before pushing ahead for a referendum and take time to deeply re-examine the economic impact by the capital move,” pointed out economics professor Jeong Gap-young of Yonsei University.

On the other hand, sociology professor Yim Hyun-baik at Korea University has a different view, saying, “Deciding whether a bill already approved by the National Assembly is constitutional or not is highly political and beyond the Constitutional Court’s authority.”

Jeon Kwang-seok, a law professor at Yonsei University, also found it hard to understand the logic behind the decision by the Constitutional Court, which considers a long-existed fact as a common law. “Since the Korean Constitution does not include articles regarding the capital, I do not agree with the court’s decision of unconstitutionality,” the professor commented.

Citizens and the Public—

Yim Young-seong, a 30-year-old salaryman, welcomes the court’s decision, saying, “In fact, the idea has been pushed from the start by the president and government without public consensus.”

“The government and ruling party must realize it is time to give up on the capital move, that the majority of its people oppose it, and to ponder what its people really need,” said a netizen.

However, there are also netizens speaking out against the court’s decision, saying, “The decision is reflecting the opinion of the haves who are living in Seoul. Later in the future, history will be the judge of the Constitutional Court responsible for today’s decision.”

Nosamo, an activist group consisting of President Roh Moo-hyun supporters, is up in arms at the decision. In a post on the website of Nosamo, a member left a note saying, “The Constitutional Court is unreliable and so are any compromises made by conservative scum. Executives of Nosamo should stage a final war against them at once!”