Moon asks Assembly to revise referendum law

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Moon asks Assembly to revise referendum law

President Moon Jae-in sent his first executive letter to the National Assembly on Friday, urging the parliament and rival parties to quickly revise the law on national referendums that was declared unconstitutional more than three years ago.

The move came two days after the presidential office strongly criticized the parliament for failing to revise the law, which is required to hold a national referendum on a constitutional amendment simultaneously with the upcoming local elections.

“Leaving the unconstitutional law on national referendums intact is an act that deprives the people of their right to vote, which not only makes it impossible to amend the Constitution but also leaves us unable to ask the people’s opinion about major policies related to the security of the nation,” Presidential Chief of Staff Im Jong-seok said earlier.

In his letter delivered to the secretary general of the house, the president asked the parliament to revise the law before the end of this month.

“What I worry about is a situation where we will not be able to hold a vote on constitutional change even after the National Assembly and the government come up with a great constitutional revision bill. Unless the law on national referendums is revised, we cannot create a register of voters, and a vote on a constitutional revision itself will be impossible,” Moon said, according to a copy of his letter released by the Blue House.

The law was ruled unconstitutional in 2014 for limiting the suffrage of citizens overseas.

The rival parties had until the end of 2016 to modify the part that was ruled unconstitutional but failed to do so, leaving the law void.

The government is currently seeking to put its own bill on a constitutional revision to a national vote in the local elections slated for June 13.

Without the necessary revision to the law on national referendums, such a vote will simply be impossible, Blue House officials have noted.

The ongoing parliamentary session has remained disrupted since Monday, mainly due to an opposition boycott over a set of contentious bills.

The government and opposition parties also remain apart over how and when to amend the Constitution.

The president has said the government will withdraw its proposal should the rival parties come up with their own single bill on a constitutional change.

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