Moon affirms desire to amend Constitution

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Moon affirms desire to amend Constitution


President Moon Jae-in talks with floor leaders from five parties near Sangchunjae, a reception house in the Blue House complex, on Friday before they have a luncheon. From left, Jun Byung-hun, presidential senior secretary for political affairs; Roh Hoe-chan, floor leader of the Justice Party; Joo Ho-young, floor leader of the Bareun Party; Chung Woo-taik, floor leader of the Liberty Korea Party; President Moon; Woo Won-shik, floor leader of the Democratic Party; Kim Dong-cheul, floor leader of the People’s Party and Im Jong-seok, presidential chief of staff. [YONHAP]

President Moon Jae-in reaffirmed his commitment at a luncheon meeting Friday with floor leaders of the five parties to revise the Constitution by putting it to a national vote during next year’s local election, according to Blue House Spokesman Park Su-hyun.

Amending the Constitution was one of the few campaign pledges shared by candidates across party lines in the run-up to the May 9 election. Moon’s pledge to make good on the promise during the luncheon raised the prospect of a national referendum on local elections, slated for June 13 next year.

“President Moon said the political circle should properly reflect on people’s calls,” said the spokesman during a press briefing at the Blue House. “He also expressed hope that the parties would discuss changing the current electoral system.”

The five floor leaders who attended the luncheon were: Woo Won-shik of the ruling Democratic Party, Chung Woo-taik of the major opposition Liberty Korea Party, Kim Dong-cheul of the People’s Party, Joo Ho-young of the Bareun Party and Roh Hoe-chan of the minor progressive Justice Party.

With Moon’s promise, the political parties are expected to speed up discussions as to how far the revision should go in amending the Constitution, which has been unchanged since 1987, when massive street protests against the military government of Chun Doo Hwan restored a direct presidential election after decades of military rule.

The 1987 Constitution bars a sitting present from re-election and only allows a single five-year term, but it has been criticized for investing too much power in the executive branch and calls have been mounting for additional checks and balances.

During the campaign, Moon leaned toward adopting a U.S.-style system that allows a president to seek a second four-year term.

One other option favored by some opposition lawmakers is a semi-presidential system, in which a president would be in charge of foreign affairs while a prime minister would manage domestic affairs.

On the issue of the U.S.-operated antimissile system, Moon said he would carefully approach the matter after he is briefed by special envoys on their consultations with the leaders of important foreign nations they were sent to.

“He also expressed his opinion that he would seriously take into account the outcomes of his summit meetings with his Chinese and U.S. counterparts in addressing the matter,” said spokesman Park.

During campaign, Moon maintained that the anti-missile system, known as Thaad, should be reviewed by the next administration and the National Assembly, as the previous Park Geun-hye government rushed to approve Thaad’s deployment without due process.

Moon’s meeting with the ruling and opposition parties’ leadership members came 10 days after he was sworn in.

The five lawmakers were not required to wear name tags, a departure from past practice.

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