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Constitutional Amendment Could Be Next Administration’s Task

Constitutional Amendment Could Be Next Administration’s Task

Posted March. 09, 2007 05:41,   


President Roh Moo-hyun said he might be willing to give up on the constitutional amendment for now and let the next administration and National Assembly deal with the issue if the political parties involved clearly state their options and schedules for the revision and promise to change the constitution when they come into power.

He had a press conference March 8 to outline his plan to amend the constitution from the current single five-year presidential term limit to an American style four-year presidency term in which the incumbent could be reelected once.

He added, “Each party should agree that the next president’s term is four years, not five years, when they decide to modify the constitution. If there are no responses or actions from the parties involved, I`ll propose my own amendment version during the extraordinary session of the National Assembly in April.”

Before his press conference, the government’s Support Group for the Constitutional Amendment (headed by Lim Sang-kyu, the head of the Office for Government Policy Coordination) released a draft plan for the revision. It seeks to reduce president’s term from five to four years but allows a maximum of two consecutive terms.

Under the plan, should a president leave before his or her term expires, the officer next in the line of succession will serve for the remaining period. If the remaining term is more than one year, the successor will be chosen via presidential election. But if is less than one year, the prime minister will serve as acting president.

The draft proposal also included three ideas about holding the presidential election and the general election at the same time by changing election schedules.

The first idea proposes holding the 2007 presidential election and 2008 general elections as planned, and to have two elections in February 2012. The new president`s term starts on March 31, 2012, and members of the National Assembly will be in office starting February 28, 2012.

The second idea is to have the presidential election in January 2012 and general elections a month later.

The third is to hold the presidential and general elections simultaneously in February 2008. Elected presidential and representative candidates will assume their posts starting February 25, 2007.

The government will submit its final version in late March or early April after collecting public opinions through hearings and conferences.

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