GNP intensifies push for constitutional changes

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GNP intensifies push for constitutional changes


Kim Moo-sung

In a stronger push for a constitutional amendment, the ruling party yesterday unveiled a plan to create a special committee in the National Assembly next month to discuss the issue.

In a meeting between senior members of the GNP and the administration, GNP floor leader Kim Moo-sung said the ruling party will push for the formation of a special committee on the constitutional amendment in an extra session of the National Assembly next month.

According to Kim, the 30-day session will begin Feb. 1, although the Democrats have not agreed to the session, in part because it wants an apology from President Lee Myung-bak for a recent spell of high tension in the legislature.

“The DP demands that President Lee apologize for the ruling party’s budget bill passage at the end of last year, but it’s unreasonable,” he said. “I will make sure that the [tone of the] legislature can be normalized with my [own] apology.”

Lee wants to end Korea’s five-year presidency in one of three ways: to adopt the American system of four-year terms and the ability to be re-elected; a parliamentary system; or to divide power between the president and the prime minister in a so-called semi-presidential system, with elections for president separate from general elections.

Lee hasn’t indicated which system he prefers.

More discussion about the constitutional amendment also took place yesterday among the Grand Nationals in another setting. Lee Jae-oh, minister in charge of political affairs, spent 30 minutes stressing the need to change the Constitution at a round-table discussion hosted by the deputy floor leader of the GNP, Lee Koon-hyon, and the East Asia Vision Forum. “I believe the discussion on the constitutional amendment has gained momentum,” he said.

Lee Jae-oh said all governing systems should be considered as part of ending the current single-term, five-year presidency. The minister said changes are needed to make the country more transparent.

About 20 GNP lawmakers loyal to President Lee attended the event yesterday to support the campaign. “It is my conviction to update the Constitution to reflect the times,” said Ahn Sang-soo, GNP chairman. “It is also a promise made to the people to discuss the issue during this National Assembly,” Ahn said.

By Ser Myo-ja []
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