[EDITORIALS]Lame duck quackingThe people have a clear opinion about President Roh Moo-hyun’s suggestion that a constitutional amendment be passed to create a four-year presidency with the possibility of re-election; the president should hand down the matter to the next administration. Polls by daily papers show the same result. Roughly the same number of people support or oppose a four-year two-term presidency, but by a margin of three to one people say the presidential election later this year should be conducted under the current system.
Thus, there is only one path for President Roh to pursue. He should accept the people’s judgment. He is welcome to spell out how and why the amendment should be passed, but the job of doing so should be left to his successor.
It is impossible to revise the Constitution while he is in office. As the Grand National Party opposes the bill, it is impossible to get approval from two-thirds of the National Assemblymen, the number required to pass the bill.
Under such circumstances, if the president proposes an amendment the people might suspect that he is just going through the motions, knowing he has no chance of success. As the president says, to propose a Constitutional amendment is his right. But that does not mean he can use the right on a whim, just because it is stipulated in the constitution. The president should use his rights to improve the people’s situation, not as a means to make a lame duck presidency seem more limber.
In political circles, the suspicion is growing that the President’s motive is to stir up the country and increase his political clout. He seems to think if he quacks loudly enough people will not realize that he is a lame duck. Some even suspect that the president might be planning to step down, using his failure to pass the amendment as an excuse, hoping to interfere in this year’s presidential election campaign.
There is no use in analyzing these suspicions if they are not valid. We do hope that the president proposed the amendment for the sake of the country, as the Blue House claims. If that is true, we also hope that he will take back this proposal in line with the opinion held by a clear majority of the people.
And the energy he planned to use in pursuing the amendment should be devoted to the management of government affairs. Whether the bill is passed or not, if the president pushes it the nation will be divided and the entire country will fall into chaos. Our country cannot afford additional chaos.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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