South Korea’s ruling party to launch bid to amend constitution

South Korea’s ruling party to launch bid to amend constitution

Constitutional amendments require two-thirds approval in the 293 seat National Assembly followed by a referendum.

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Photo: Reuters/Kim Hong-ji

President Moon Jae-in’s ruling centre-left Democratic Party is expected to unveil proposed revisions to South Korea’s constitution today, before submitting an amendment bill next week.

Moon promised to amend the constitution during his election campaign but faces difficulties in delivering on that promise. Constitutional amendments require two-thirds approval in the 293 seat National Assembly followed by a referendum. With only 121 seats, the Democratic Party will need to reach a consensus with its main opposition, the Liberty Korea Party (LKP).

The Democratic Party have stated their constitutional revisions will improve individual rights and decentralise power. The planned amendment will also allow presidents to serve for two consecutive four-year terms rather than the current single five-year term. Allowing presidents to run for re-election seeks to remedy an unfortunate trend in South Korean politics that has seen virtually every president become embroiled in corruption scandals toward the end of their single term.

Still, Moon’s revisions face an uphill battle. With the LKP opposed to two four-year terms and reluctant to put any changes to referendum with local elections due this year, Moon’s election promise could remain unfulfilled.

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