Respect for Constitution?Korea marks Constitution Day today. By next year, this country will be celebrating the 60th anniversary since it promulgated the Constitution.
The Constitution, which was last revised in 1987 as the result of the democracy movement, is now 20 years old. But it is currently undergoing the worst trial in Korean history. The Roh Moo-hyun administration has been violating the Constitution as a drunk driver would violate the traffic law.
As his term nears its end, the president came to call the Constitution “the wretched law.”
Facing Constitution Day at this point, we are utterly bewildered and concerned.
The story of how President Roh Moo-hyun violated the Constitution goes a long way back, to the time when he was elected president.
One of his campaign pledges, promised to win public support, was against the Constitution. If his pledge to move the capital was found unconstitutional a bit earlier, he would have never gained enough votes from the Chungcheong provinces, the region where Roh had pledged to move the capital.
When Roh saw that his popularity was falling in the beginning of his term, he suggested he would seek a confidence vote. Such an idea is found nowhere in the Constitution.
The newspaper reform bill, one of the four major projects that Roh and the Uri Party pushed through, was ruled as partially unconstitutional.
There’s a suit filed with the Constitutional Court asking for the private school law to be judged again. Roh also violated the Constitutional Law while trying to nominate judge Jeon Hyo-suk as chief justice of the Constitutional Court. She had to resign after lawmakers pointed out that she was not qualified for the nomination because she did not complete a six-year term as a judge of the court. The pressroom shutdowns, the most recent of his activities, are infringing upon the people’s right to know, which is against the Constitution again. Recently a constitutional petition has been submitted to stop the pressroom shutdown.
While the majority was opposed, the president made a fuss to amend the Constitution. The president did not respect the constitutional bodies either. Although the Constitutional Court said the president holds the duty to stay politically neutral, he filed another petition to overrule that.
Roh has also ignored the National Election Commission’s warning several times. When the president looks down upon the Constitution, the public will also disregard the law.
It was during this administration that protesters once again started to beat riots police, and set fire to public facilities. They occupy the roads in central Seoul while some throw cow manure on people’s food to stop stores from selling U.S. beef. All of these cannot be irrelevant actions to contempt the Constitution as the president has shown for. Lawless democracy is destined to lead to a people’s dictatorship.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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