Wretched contemptPresident Roh Moo-hyun’s arrogance and ignorance are threatening the noble order of our constitutional government. With the National Election Commission’s verdict pending on whether Roh has violated election law, the Blue House announced it will file a constitutional petition to challenge the ruling if it is unfavorable to the president. This is a form of pressure upon the commission that may influence its decision.
Chapter 4 of the Constitution is about the president, Chapter 6 is about the Constitutional Court and Chapter 7 details the role of the National Election Commission. Under the Constitution, the President, the Constitutional Court and the National Election Commission are all independent bodies. The president, the chief justice and the National Assembly chairman create the tripartite commission. But it becomes a five-sided commission when the chairs of the Constitutional Court and the National Election Commission are counted.
In a democratic country, this pentagonal commission maintains checks and balances. The Constitutional Court, in particular, maintains the political equilibrium of society and the National Election Commission protects the process that produces both the administration and parliament from irregularities. Ever since the Constitutional Court ruled against Roh’s plan to move the administrative capital, he has shown disdain for the court.
The president should practice self-control and wait for the National Election Commission to announce their ruling. That way, the presidency can become a constitutional body of the same rank and the president can be a role model to the public showing that he practices constitutionalism.
The president of Korea has rights. If it is legally possible, he can exercise his free will in deciding whether to file a constitutional petition that challenges the National Election Commission’s ruling if it finds him guilty of breaking the election law. But all of these actions should follow after the National Election Commission has made its decision.
Even if he could, and even if he has free choice, mentioning the constitutional appeal gives us an odd feeling. The president had taken a presidential oath that he will abide by the Constitution. But he has recently shown contempt for the Constitution by calling it “wretched.” He has shown ignorance and contempt to the Constitution and now he is appealing to that same Constitution for help when he needs it. It’s time for the National Election Commission to give him a lesson.
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