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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on May 4)

All News 07:13 May 04, 2020

Constitutional revision

The ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) is floating the idea of a constitutional revision after winning a landslide victory in the April 15 general election. It appears to be natural for some DPK lawmakers to start a discussion about how to rewrite the Constitution to better cope with the rapidly changing society, by limiting the president's power and enhancing people's basic rights.

Yet we cannot help but ask the question: Is this the right time to talk about a constitutional amendment? The answer is definitely in the negative. The reason is because the nation's top priority is to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and minimize its devastating effect on the economy. Nevertheless, some lawmakers and lawmakers-elect are trying to raise their voice on drafting a new Constitution.

Their move seems to be gaining traction, especially now after the DPK and its affiliate party gained 180 seats in the 300-member National Assembly in the polls. This may give the impression that the ruling camp is seeking to take the political initiative against the main opposition United Future Party (UFP) and its satellite party which suffered a crushing election defeat, garnering only 103 seats. Yet the DPK is still short of the 200 seats, or two-thirds of the total, which are needed for a constitutional revision.

Furthermore, the DPK is seeking to put to a vote a revision bill designed to allow people to propose a constitutional amendment.

Considering the present socioeconomic and political situation, the ruling party had better refrain from railroading the bill through the Assembly. The best option is to have it scrapped without a vote. A potential confrontation between the DPK and the UFP will only deepen partisan struggles and have an adverse effect on the ongoing national effort to battle the pandemic and minimize its economic fallout.
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