[EDITORIALS]Delay the amendment debateThe newly elected Uri Party chairman, Moon Hee-sang, mentioned the necessity of a constitutional amendment yesterday. Because he was answering a question in an interview with a broadcasting station, he did not elaborate further. All he gave was a basic opinion, like those already mentioned by other politicians.
We are concerned, however, because Mr. Moon is the head of the governing party. His remarks can speed up the debates on constitutional revisions in the political arena beyond what is necessary. Only a few days ago, the head and the floor leader of the opposition Grand National Party had mentioned the need to amend the constitution. The proposed revisions by the two parties are not much different.
As of now, politicians are seeking a revision to resolve the structural problem and political confusion created from the difference in the four-year term of legislators and five-year term of the president. The politicians are proposing a constitutional amendment to line up the presidential term with the four-year term of lawmakers and to allow reelection of a president. Some also proposed to establish a vice presidency in order to prevent concentration of power by the president.
It is true that the current constitution, revised in 1987, fails to accommodate all of the diverse political and social needs. The main objectives of the revision were the adoption of a direct presidential election system and systematic prevention of long-time rule. There is no reason to oppose a constitutional amendment at this point, because both the governing and opposition parties agree with the need and the direction of the revision.
Since the two sides agree with such conditions, there will be no harm in beginning the discussion as late as possible. When the discussion begins, it will inevitably affect almost all other fields, particularly the economy.
If the discussion on the revision begins too early, it will likely stimulate unnecessary competition among lawmakers to become presidential candidates. The changed presidential term and introduction of a U.S.-style presidency will likely urge the presidential hopefuls to initiate partnerships to find their running mates.
We hope the governing and opposition parties put all their efforts into reviving the nation’s economy during this year, leaving aside debates on the constitutional amendment for the time being.