Don’t talk of ConstitutionOn the 59th anniversary of Constitution Day yesterday, President Roh Moo-hyun suggested a revision of the Constitution. It is a pity that the public cannot accept his proposal as a sincere one. Speaking repeatedly, he devastated the Constitution. The Constitution Day official dinner with the heads of five constitutional organizations, including the president, was cancelled by the refusal of the heads of the Constitutional Court and the National Election Commission to attend. At this point, we need to ask if President Roh is qualified to speak of a revision of the Constitution. Did he ever follow it? Does he have the right plan to revise it?
Mr. Roh argued that presidents should not be prohibited from leading political activities, citing the United States and France as examples. He still does not understand our situation, which is different from other developed countries. He does not know how the political powers have manipulated the elections ever since the establishment of the Korean government. He does not know why the election interference by the intelligence agency and government branches became controversial. He argues that the Constitution protects him from attacks by the opposition. But he can have his spokesman or his loyalists speak for him.
He also spoke about limiting the president’s power to give pardons. It makes sense to a certain extent. Even in the United States, President Bush is under fire for giving pardons to people close to him at his convenience. But he should look back at what he did. He pardoned a man who was jailed for raising illegal campaign funds and made him a minister. He also pardoned his pal and went golfing with him after freeing him.
The president said it was difficult to run the country when the opposition forces were larger than his followers. To prevent such a situation from happening again, he said the tenure of the president and the National Assembly members should be aligned. But in the United States, where the tenures of the president and the Congress members already match, the opposition party can be larger, according to the political situation.
If it was the system that was really the problem, how did President Roh enjoy the moment when the ruling party was much bigger than the opposition?
It was the president’s fault that he made his party a minority. By losing the respect of the legislators, he could not cooperate with the legislature. But he blames that on the Constitution.