Machiavellian moveThe National Assembly’s six negotiating groups have reached an agreement that they will defer President Roh Moo-hyun’s bid to pass a constitutional amendment until next year. They urged Roh to not seek a change this year, but their recommendation has already been rejected. The Blue House said on Wednesday that it would consider the recommendation, but changed its position yesterday. The presidential office said the Blue House will go ahead and present the constitutional amendment bill this year, unless the six political parties publicly declare that they will seek a constitutional change to allow for a two-term, four-year presidency in the early days of next year’s session.
The public has agreed that Korea needs a constitutional amendment, but have asked the Blue House and the legislature to defer the change, so that it does not affect the presidential election. And yet, Roh is demanding that all politicians formally express their support for his amendment proposal, and that is the same as insisting that the nation should continue debating the matter.
It will take months for political parties to prepare their official positions on the amendment. Thus, in its own Machiavellian way, it seems that the Blue House wants to make a debate over the C onstitution a part of the presidential election.
Chang Young-dal, the Uri Party floor leader, abruptly made a proposal yesterday that the National Assembly should establish a research committee on the constitutional revision. It appears that he shares the Blue House’s intentions.
Roh’s support among the public soared after the free trade agreement with the United States. He lost some of his traditional supporters, while those who used to oppose him saw him in a more positive light. When the debate on the constitutional amendment begins, it will create waves in the presidential election. That is what Roh wants.
There is only one alternative left. Roh should send the bill to the National Assembly as soon as possible, and the lawmakers should reject it immediately.