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Roh: Presidential, Lawmaker Terms of Office Should be Changed

Roh: Presidential, Lawmaker Terms of Office Should be Changed

Posted September. 01, 2005 07:09,   


President Roh Moo-hyun said yesterday that “Korea needs a systematic measure to make a breakthrough in the current political situation,” adding, “Adjusting the term of the next presidential election slated for December 2007 and the general election scheduled for April 2008 so that they are put together can be an alternative.”

In a meeting with 24 journalists in charge of editorials and commentaries in major media held in Cheong Wa Dae on the same day, President Roh said the above, adding, “France whose constitution is a very similar to Korea’s constitution did so.”

Attention is being paid to the president’s remark because he raised the need to amend the Constitution that stipulates that a president’s term and a lawmaker’s term are five years and four years, respectively. Some speculate that the president wants a constitutional amendment to change the current system from the five-year-term presidency to a four-year-reelection system.

In addition, the president said, “The ruling minority and opposition majority structure, which has been maintained since the 13th National Assembly, has been quite inefficient in dealing with historical projects that are required in the corresponding period,” adding, “It is better to make a decision over whether a president should stay in office by carrying out an interim evaluation or an evaluation administered by the public at the halfway point of a presidency, rather than to repeat what has happened in the past.”

Regarding views of linking the idea of a grand coalition government with a constitutional amendment to a parliamentary government, the president expressed his position, saying, “Forming a grand coalition government has something to do with reforming the political makeup and culture, and we should rectify the regionalism-based politics regardless of the parliamentary government or presidential system,” adding, “Currently, I don’t have any decision and judgment regarding a parliamentary government.”

In regards to his remark related to cutting down his term uttered at a dinner meeting with ruling Uri Party members the day before, the president said, “A cut in terms of office is not something that the constitutional system can grapple with,” explaining, “It is necessary for someone to decisively give up his or her vested rights in a bid to provide the public with an improved political culture and system, and if I cut down my term, it will be a resolute decision.”

Yeon-Wook Jung jyw11@donga.com