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Gov't to propose constitutional revision proposal by mid-March

Gov't to propose constitutional revision proposal by mid-March

Posted February. 08, 2018 08:16,   

Updated February. 08, 2018 08:16


The government’s own proposal for a constitutional revision ordered by President Moon Jae-in will likely be outlined around mid-March. The Presidential Commission on Policy Planning plans to set up a special committee that would come up with the administration’s proposal for a constitutional revision, which would include a change to the power structure, next month, said the commission’s chairman Jung Hae-gu.

“The president has no choice but to prepare the administration’s proposal for a constitutional revision because, in reality, it does not seem possible for the National Assembly to come up with its own proposal,” Jung said, adding he plans to set up a special advisory committee for a constitutional revision consisting of some 30 members under his commission. President Moon Jae-in ordered the government on Monday to begin preparing its own bill to submit in case the parliament fails to do so in time.

The proposed special committee to be launched on next Tuesday will consist of four departments, each for the general principles and basic rights, local autonomy, government structure and people’s participation, respectively. Jung said that each department will consist of professionals while the one for people’s participation will comprise people selected with considerations of generational and regional representation. However, they will not involve politicians or presidential aides. “It is inappropriate to include politicians from the ruling and opposition parties in the committee at a time when the National Assembly is discussing (a constitutional revision),” Jung said.

The special committee plans to open a website on February 19 to gather public opinion and conduct an opinion poll on key issues from late February. Although Jung said the committee plans to focus on online surveys for public opinion due to the time constraints, arguments opposing the plan to focus on online surveys for the first constitutional revision in 30 years are expected to surface.

The greatest attention is paid to the discussion at the department on the government structure, which will deal with the most contentious issue on the power structure. “It is highly likely that the power structure change issue will not be included in the president’s proposal because of the big differences between the ruling and opposition parties,” said an official at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae. However, the commission chairman said its proposal will “include everything,” while it is up to President Moon to decide whether to exclude the power structure issue. “We will respect President Moon’s mention of a double, four-year term presidency but will have to have concrete discussions on exactly how to make it possible.”

Sang-Jun Han alwaysj@donga.com