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President Roh: “I Propose Forming a Large-Scale Coalition Government”

President Roh: “I Propose Forming a Large-Scale Coalition Government”

Posted July. 29, 2005 03:04,   


President Roh Moo-hyun proposed forming a large-scale coalition government in which he plans to hand over his presidential right to appoint the prime minister and some Cabinet members to the Grand National Party (GNP) on July 28.

Since this proposal is almost tantamount to a change of regime, it is creating a stir over whether it is feasible without the people’s consensus or amending the Constitution.

In “a letter to ruling Uri Party members” posted on the Cheong Wa Dae website on the same day, President Roh stated the above and explained that the large-scale coalition government means a formation in which the main opposition GNP will have an iron grip on state affairs and the Uri Party will take part in it.

President Roh urged the GNP to accept his suggestion of forming a large-scale coalition government, saying, “My proposal of forming a large-scale coalition government is actually equivalent to a turnover of political power,” adding, “The GNP has been concerned about the country like the ruin of the country being just around the corner. If its anxiety is true, it should promptly take over the government at all costs and get over the crisis.”

In addition, President Roh noted, “My demand is to reform the current election system in a bid to break the deep-rooted regional partition under a framework system in return for relinquishing my power to a level of the parliamentary cabinet system.”

President Roh elaborated his idea by suggesting several steps: First, political concord between the opposition and ruling parties; Second, forming a large-scale coalition government led by the GNP; Third, handing over his power to the coalition government; and finally, reforming the current election system by the opposition and ruling parties. President Roh stressed, “I and the ruling Uri Party will turn over the power to the GNP, while the GNP should decide to abandon its vested rights of regionalism.”

In response, the GNP immediately refused this suggestion, saying, “That idea is unconstitutional.” The Democratic Labor Party and Millennium Democratic Party denounced the idea as well, saying, “It will be better for the ruling Uri Party to merge with the GNP.”

Regarding President Roh’s remark of handing over power, Cheong Wa Dae noted, “It means that President Roh will give up the right to appoint the prime minister to the GNP and Cabinet members to the GNP and ruling Uri Party,” hinting that if forming a large-scale coalition government is actualized, President Roh will stay in office while consigning the position of prime minister to the GNP, and that the Cabinet members will consist of GNP and ruling Uri Party members.

Concerning the direction in the election system reorganization to resolve the issue of regional partition, President Roh explained, “A multi-member, one-district system is not the only solution to the matter,” adding, “It will be possible to consult with each other if an election system, regardless of any election systems, can be utilized to exterminate the regional partition issue.”

President Roh is reportedly bearing introducing a system of proportional representation for each district through increasing the number of proportional representation members in mind, even if the current single-member, one-district system is maintained.

President Roh explained the background of this proposal, saying, “Overcoming deep-rooted regional factionalism is not only my ultimate goal for my political career but also the reason for my taking office,” adding, “It is considerably worth achieving at any cost, including giving up my power to others.”

President Roh revealed this idea at a meeting of 12 key figures of the ruling Uri Party, the government, and Cheong Wa Dae and fine-tuned their views on July 22. President Roh planned to suggest this proposal on July 24, but put off it due to the illegal bugging scandal by the National Security Planning Agency.

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com