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Ruling party to seek constitutional revision before presidential election

All Headlines 10:33 February 03, 2017

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Feb. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's ruling Saenuri Party on Friday proposed the formation of a consultative body among potential presidential contenders to revise the Constitution before the upcoming presidential election.

"The constitutional revision is the biggest reform that can be conducted by the political circle for now," floor leader Rep. Chung Woo-taik said during the extra session at the National Assembly.

"If all presidential hopefuls from both ruling and opposition parties have a patriotic mind for the country and the people, they will agree on revising the Constitution before the election without the consideration of personal interests," Chung added.

Chung criticized the main opposition Democratic Party, which opposes an early amendment citing a lack of time. Moon Jae-in, a leading potential candidate of the liberal party, has been claiming the revision should follow the election.

"If the lawmakers are determined, the revision can be done within around two months," Chung said.

Struck by the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye, Saenuri has been seeking to revise the basic law in an apparent bid to regain the public's support.

Park was impeached by parliament in December over a corruption scandal. The scandal has revived the debate on redressing the Constitution, which has long been criticized for granting excessive powers to the president.

Saenuri on Wednesday adopted a pre-election constitutional amendment as an official line for the first time among political parties.

During the speech, Chung also denounced the splinter Bareun Party, which broke away from Saenuri amid factional feuds between loyalists to Park and her dissenters.

"Saenuri has not denied its role as the ruling party like cowards, and did not run away," Chung said. "We will sustain and develop the true values of conservatism."

colin@yna.co.kr
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