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President Not to Chair Nat’l Sci-tech Council

Posted November. 16, 2010 11:19,   


The president will not head the National Science and Education Council, which will instead be headed by a minister-level executive chairman just like other general administrative commissions.

On Oct. 1, a draft plan for the council suggested integrating the management of research and development functions scattered with the Education, Science and Technology Ministry, the Knowledge Economy Ministry and others to help promote national R&D programs, and giving the council the Strategy and Finance Ministry’s right to allocate budget.

The presidential office had designated the chief executive to directly chair the council to effectively coordinate research programs and help avoid conflict among ministries.

A ranking government official said, “A meeting of presidential aides Monday decided that the president would not chair the National Science and Technology Council,” adding, “With critics repeatedly claiming that it is unconstitutional for the president to chair the council, we judged that the bill will not pass the National Assembly and thus chose to revise the bill to make it more practical.”

Opposition parties and constitutional experts say the revision bill on the council violates Article 83 of the Constitution, which stipulates, “The president cannot double as the chief of an administrative ministry.”

The decision apparently came to prevent disputes expected to flare up not only at public hearings and forums but also at the parliamentary committee on education, science and technology.

A government source said, “Apart from the clause saying the president will not double as council chair, other elements of the revision bill are largely the same as that suggested by the Education, Science and Technology Committee,” adding, “This change should not be seen as a measure to reduce the council’s power.”