Go to contents

Opposition fuels controversy over constitutional revision

Opposition fuels controversy over constitutional revision

Posted October. 31, 2014 07:18,   


The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) continues to fuel discussions about the proposed revision of the Constitution. A day after Moon Hee-sang, interim leader of the NPAD, told President Park Geun-hye that there is a "golden time" for a constitutional amendment, he stressed on Thursday the importance of a revision that would call for the decentralization of presidential power.

There are many NPAD lawmakers who support a constitutional revision. Woo Yoon-keun, the NPAD floor leader, and other influential members of the party, including Park Jie-won, Chung Sye-kyun and Moon Jae-in, are in favor of an amendment. When President Park expressed her objection to parliamentary discussion of a constitutional amendment, Moon criticized the president for her "dictatorial idea of abusing power and ignoring the division of powers."

A third-term NPAD lawmaker said that the party is actively championing a constitutional revision because there is a "consensus" among the people and lawmakers about the necessity. "There may be a calculation that it is not unfavorable to the opposition party to confront the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, which is trying to stop the discussions," he said. Among 249 legislators who responded to a recent survey by a media outlet, 231, or nearly 93 percent, of them said they were in favor of a constitutional revision.

Moon claims that it is imperative to end the "system of 1987," which introduced the current direct presidential election system. He argued at a behind-closed-door meeting that few presidents had been successful from the beginning to the end of their terms in office. "It is not because the persons had problems but because the current presidential system has a systemic flaw, with which only one or two of 100 presidents can perfectly execute his or her duty," he said.

However, some observers say that such a cause has underlying political calculations. More than anything else, many lawmakers think that a constitutional revision that would decentralize the presidential power would be good as long as it ends up strengthening the power of the National Assembly. They mean that dividing power between the ruling and opposition parties would be a win-win solution to both parties except for some leading presidential hopefuls.

Some other NPAD members are cautious about the risks from the constitutional amendment issue. One party official said that the issue could back fire if it leads to a frame between a constitutional revision or economic recovery. "Now is the time to make a careful strategy about the necessity and direction of a constitutional revision.