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2 Parties Show Support For 2-Term Presidency

Dec 29,2000
Representatives of the two political parties rumored to be merging expressed readiness Thursday to change the constitution to create a U.S.-style presidency and to allow the next president to serve two terms.

The comments, made by representatives of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party and the United Liberal Democrats, a minority party, fueled the flames of political speculation that the two will merge soon. If so, they will capture a 136-seat majority in the 273-seat National Assembly.

Rep. Kim Chong-hoh, acting chairman of the United Liberal Democrats, in a press conference Thursday, said that the party is willing to consider adopting changes to produce an American-style presidency.

"Our party remains committed to a parliamentary form of government, but we should consider switching to a two-term, U.S. style-presidency," Mr. Kim said. He added that the danger of one-man rule is gone.

Meanwhile, Chairman Kim Joong-kwon of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party, in an interview with a daily newspaper, the Taejon Times, echoed Mr. Kim's comment.

"The parliamentary form of government is the desirable type but if it is difficult, the U.S.-style presidency with a vice-president can be a good alternative," the ruling party representative said.

Despite continued public denials by both parties, especially the United Liberal Democrats, these remarks generated immediate attention. It is the first time that the ULD representative has mentioned another form of government.

Although he pointed out that he was voicing his personal opinion only, political insiders note that the power structure of the United Liberal Democrats does not allow the public airing of such comment without a tacit consent from the party's leader, Kim Jong-pil.



by Kim Jung-ha




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