Govt. to propose own bill on constitutional revision by next month: official

By Yonhap

Published : Feb 7, 2018 - 14:54
Updated : Feb 7, 2018 - 15:21

The government will have its own proposal for a constitutional revision before the end of next month, the head of a presidential committee said Wednesday, two days after President Moon Jae-in ordered the government to begin preparing its own bill to submit in case the parliament fails to do so in time.

Jung Hae-gu, the head of the presidential committee on policy planning, said the committee will work to submit its proposal to the president in "mid-March."

The remarks came after the president stressed the need to prepare a government bill on a constitutional amendment to be put to a vote concurrently with local elections in June.


"As I have repeatedly said before, I will do my utmost as president to keep my promise to the people to hold a vote on a constitutional amendment concurrently with the June local elections," Moon said Monday while meeting with his presidential aides in a weekly meeting.

"It is fortunate that each party recently confirmed their efforts to amend the Constitution and that the ruling and opposition parties began their consultations. However, it is deplorable that there still only exists the basic principle and direction and no concrete progress. I once again urge (the parties) to be more responsible and engage in consultations to come up with a bill on a constitutional revision," he added.

The president had instructed the policy planning committee to take charge of the task to prepare a government bill that will likely seek to remove the current limit on presidency to a single five-year term and instead allow a one-time reelection for a maximum of two four-year terms.

"Whether a change to the power structure will be included in the bill will be up to the president," Jung told a press conference in Seoul.

Both ruling and opposition parties have noted a need to amend the Constitution, which was last revised more than three decades ago in 1987, but their discussions have largely stalled due to their differences on how to change the power structure. Such discussions also included how to modify the country's electoral districts.

Jung said the government proposal will be based on a series of hearings and debates, along with a nationwide public survey that will likely be held at the end of this month or in early March.

The president has noted it will cost an additional 120 billion won ($110 million) to hold a separate vote on a constitutional revision, apparently implying it would require little or no extra spending should an envisioned amendment be put to a vote concurrently with the local elections, slated for June 13.

Still, he said the government will step aside should the rival parties reach a consensus and field a joint bill in time, which he said was before the end of March.

"It will be the best for the National Assembly to reach a consensus based on the people's wish, but I believe the current condition does not allow us to wait for a parliamentary agreement. Now the president cannot but begin preparations for a constitutional amendment by gathering the people's opinions," he said earlier.(Yonhap)


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