[EDITORIALS]His legacy, right or wrongIn a meeting with journalists yesterday, President Roh Moo-hyun said he would pursue a constitutional amendment to permit a two-term presidency. He said he would propose the bill and he does not care whether it is approved or rejected. He expressed the same intention at a meeting with leaders of the Uri Party that was held shortly before the meeting with reporters. It is hard to believe that he can be serious when he says he will stick to his plan, given that public opinion is clearly opposed to the idea. Even though the Constitution stipulates that the president has a right to propose such an amendment, it is an abuse of power to exert that right on a whim.
The leaders of the opposition parties did not respond to the President’s invitation to discuss the amendment. President Roh said their attitude made him concerned about the future of the country. He said politicians only behave with such audacity when they think the people’s opinion is on their side.
But the people are the ones who should worry about the future. The term audacious is more suitable for a president who has an arrogant disregard for public opinion.
The president said we should listen to the arguments of the minority and have a debate about them. But he has not been listening to those who oppose his ideas and has simply pushed his own plans.
It is not right that the president causes such turmoil and plunges the entire country into chaos. It seems he wants the amendment to be his legacy and he does not care if this is the right or wrong moment for change.
Fortunately, President Roh has confirmed that he will not make the constitutional amendment a vote of confidence and thereby have the length of his tenure depend on the vote of the National Assembly. The president said proposing the amendment should not hinder government business, but all the opposition party leaders refused to attend the luncheon at the Blue House and that is a sign of paralysis in the government.
The job of passing the amendment is out of this president’s hands. If he believes the amendment is truly necessary, he should leave it to his successor. He should also listen to the complaints of those who support the idea of a two-term presidency. They say it has become more difficult to support the amendment, now it has been proposed by the president. If the president truly cares about the country he should abandon his ill-judged proposal and obey the opinion of the people.