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“I Won’t Shorten Presidential Term”

Posted January. 12, 2007 06:35,   


President Roh Moo-hyun said at a press conference on January 11, “I will not shorten the presidential term.”

He responded as such to the question asking for his clear thoughts on the presumed decision for a shortened presidency as his last resort if the proposed constitutional amendment turns out to be impossible. He denied the possibility looming in the political circle that he would “quit before the end of his tenure, and there would be an early general election.”

However the political circle does not regard his resignation in the middle of his tenure to be completely impossible, despite President Roh’s denial.

President Roh on the same day made a rather puzzling remark. He said, “I think that at least some of the Grand National Party (GNP) lawmakers could give a second thought over the constitutional amendment and turn their position around. But because it was I that proposed the idea of the shortened presidency, they would never concede to it even if they want to. If I said I would quit the job in case the idea is vetoed, they would definitely veto it and move on with the election as early as possible.”

This implies that a possible resignation before the end of the tenure would not be conducive to persuading the GNP at this point.

However if the constitutional amendment he proposed is vetoed in the National Assembly, he will become more of a lame-duck president. Many analysts say that his proposed shortened term is moot at this point, meaning that President Roh would possibly bring up the card whenever he wants to avoid the worst scenario. His frequent remark, “[My only authority left] is the right of appointment and the power of presidency,” is worth noting.

President Roh also said, “If the opposition parties demand I defect from the Uri Party in return for the constitutional amendment, I might consider it (the party defection).” However the opposition parties said in unison, “He has no intention to defect from the party.” It shows how the party defection is not much of an inducement to trigger consent for the amendment among opposition parties.