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Amend the Constitution

Sept 27,2017
The majority want a rewriting of the Constitution not merely to fix the single-term five-year presidency and other power systems, but to ensure better individual livelihood and rights. According to a survey by the JoongAng Ilbo, 78.4 percent of people and 88.8 percent of lawmakers backed the idea of holding a referendum on a constitutional amendment when voters elect their district heads, governors, mayors and councilmen on June 13 next year.

It is noticeable that the majority supported a constitutional reform for better basic rights, overwhelming the 18.5 percent who cited the diffusion of presidential power as the reason for their approval for changes to the Constitution.

Reforming the 1987 Constitution has been raised because of the need to contain the mighty powers of the president. But the people had eyes on a bigger and farsighted purpose behind constitutional reform. They desired to see the Constitution, which was written to improve democracy, changed to better reflect the individual needs and rights of today and the future. The same reason topped a separate survey in July.

Politicians, therefore, must embark on the process to amend the Constitution in the direction of enhancing rights, welfare, and the livelihood of the people. President Moon Jae-in made a campaign promise to reform the Constitution around the time of local elections next year.

The Democratic Party’s role is essential. It must not delay the process by citing the difference in the choice of government system among rivaling parties. It must work on a draft of bettering civilian rights, national competitiveness, and state governance. Constituents must be included in the process.

There is not much time if a referendum is to be held along with the June election. A bill on the constitutional amendment must be ready by March and passed by May to go to the public vote in June. The rival parties must stop bickering over political details and concentrate on the reforms aimed to upgrade civilian rights.

JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 26, Page 30