Dinner date? No, thanksOn Constitution Day Tuesday, something odd happened. Two out of five heads of constitutional organizations refused to attend an annual dinner with President Roh Moo-hyun. President Roh vowed to protect the Constitution when entering office. But he posted a letter arguing for the revision of the Constitution. From next year, Constitution Day will no longer be a national holiday. On the final day to celebrate the establishment of the Constitution, the document was not duly respected.
National Assembly Speaker Lim Chae-jung prepared the dinner and invited the president and the five heads of the constitutional bodies. But Lee Kang-kook, the head of the Constitutional Court, said he would not show up the day before and Koh Hyeon-chul, the chairman of the National Election Commission, cancelled on Tuesday morning. It is the first time that an event attended by the president was cancelled because invited guests pulled out.
On the day to celebrate the establishment of the Constitution, the heads of the constitutional organizations did not need to hear the president condemning the Constitution.
The president has only himself to blame. President Roh often showed disrespect for the Constitution and called it “the wretched Constitution.” He filed a constitutional petition on the election law banning civil workers from electioneering.
It was obvious what the president would have talked about in the meeting. Despite repeated warnings from the National Election Commission, President Roh kept makingremarks about electioneering and half-jokingly said, “What I say probably violates the election law.”
On that day, the Web site of the Blue House posted criticism of the current Constitution and argued for its revision. Even if the heads of the constitutional bodies had met the president, it was very unlikely that they would have had sincere and meaningful talks.
Senior members of the National Assembly expressed regret about the government’s decision to remove Constitution Day from the list of holidays.
The senior lawmakers received the decision as the president’s will to disrespect the Constitution.
It is awful that the president was denied a dinner by government officials.
And it is truly regrettable that the entire nation will be left with damage caused by a president who even is shunned by government officials.