[EDITORIALS]A Phony Debate on the Constitution

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[EDITORIALS]A Phony Debate on the Constitution

The argument for the constitutional revision being raised in political circles is sinister. Not to mention the timing of raising it, the method of floating the idea underlines such an impression. We do not consider the discussion of constitutional revision itself a taboo, nor are we against it under any circumstances. Also, we don't want to put forth the argument that we should not waste national strength over the issue of changing the governance structure when the nation is in a crisis. We believe it is all right to talk about it if it is deemed necessary for the future of the nation. What we ask is that politicians discuss it in the open and with responsibility.

If the discussion of constitutional revision continues the way it is, the terminus is crystal clear. The endless emotional bickering between the ruling party and the opposition will complicate the political landscape. It is ultimately the public that will suffer in such a scenario. How-ever earnestly politicians talk about it, the revision will not happen. Both the ruling party and the opposition are aware that it is realistically impossible because the revision requires the approval of two-thirds of the assemblymen.

Yet, many figures seem to have jumped on the bandwagon. They appear to put forth the argument from personal political ambition. The notion of touching the constitution to stand at the center of power or to seize power is no different from the days of military dictatorship when the regime attempted to extend its rule through constitutional amendments.

Furthermore, the ruling party's attitude in raising the revision invites suspicions. Those who want to run for the next presidency have joined, one by one, the rank of people who are discussing the constitutional revision. Of course, they all set forth the premise that their opinion was only a private one. Yet it is hard to understand how we are supposed to accept it as such when the ruling party's chairman, members of its Supreme Council and its power elites talk about the nation's governance structure. Whenever one of them brings up the issue, the Millennium Democratic Party always denies that it is the official party position.

We wonder if their surreptitious maneuvers are meant to create a mood while avoiding the opposition's assault. On Thursday, the ruling camp must have judged the time was ripe, because the party's secretary general stoked the spark as he said, "When the time comes, it may be discussed and examined [within the party]."

The political scene is abuzz with this issue and the public is utterly at a loss, but the president, the head of the ruling party, has yet to say anything about the matter. When he was briefed on party affairs on Friday, the president reportedly said, "Refrain from making unnecessary political debates." The party spokesman, however, said, "The president did not say anything about the constitutional revision." As far as this matter is concerned, the ruling party has repeatedly floated the idea without giving the bone of contention to the opposition.

If the ruling circle keeps at this tactic as a way to provide a justification for the non-mainstream members of the Grand National Party to part ways with their president, Lee Hoi-chang, or as an effort to shake the opposition and seek political realignment, it is no different from the tiring political practices of old days.

If they want to talk about the issue, they should fix it as a party platform and discuss the merits and demerits in the open. It is necessary to present a clear position; either bring it up officially or stop the discussion.

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