[EDITORIALS]No basic law change nowWe are uncomfortable with the debate in some parts of the political arena over whether to revise the constitution. The revision is not feasible, and those who are proposing it have what looks like a hidden agenda.
Following the Millennium Democratic Party's proposal for a revision a few days ago, Rhee In-je, a former contender for the party's presidential nomination, went a step further and asked that an institute be set up to pursue the matter. The United Liberal Democrats welcomed the move with open arms, and the Korean Coalition for the Future's President Park Geun-hye seemed to follow suit. Independent Representative Chung Mong-joon seems to be against the idea because he thinks the timing is not right. He is the only one of the declared or possible presidential contenders to oppose the idea. There seem to be many people who sympathize with the idea, but in reality there are not many. The Grand National Party, with a majority in the National Assembly, decided that the matter should be discussed during the term of the next administration. The MDP's presidential candidate, Roh Moo-hyun, rejected the idea flatly. He and his followers said the move was unnecessary; the current constitution already has many elements of a division of power. They think that the idea for revision came from the foes of Mr. Roh and the real purpose is to damage Mr. Roh's candidacy. They may be correct that a conspiracy is behind the idea.
The revision of the constitution can be completed only after the approval of two-thirds of the National Assembly and a simple majority in a popular referendum. This debate seems to be just a political product; those who have been knocked out of contention in the presidential election are trying to rebuild their political base.
Many people have asked for a revision of the constitution after reflecting on the defects of the single-term presidency and its tendency to make the incumbent imperial. Nevertheless, it is inappropriate to raise the issue five months before the presidential election, there is not enough time to build a consensus of the people through public hearings and discussions. The revision of the constitution cannot be approached by those who only calculate their own political interests. They can make it a campaign pledge; if the people elect them, they can calmly pursue it during their term of office.