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Opinion

[Editorial] Ad hoc panel

In a follow-up to a recent congress of its lawmakers on constitutional amendment, the ruling Grand National Party is debating a proposal to create a high-powered ad hoc committee tasked to build a favorable consensus among the public. But its advocates, mostly senior party members close to President Lee Myung-bak, are wasting what little is left of their political capital.

The advocates, who had wanted a three-day forum among party lawmakers earlier this week, had to cut this short to two days because they failed to elicit enthusiasm from the participants. Setting their humiliation aside, they continue to push for constitutional amendment, demanding an ad hoc committee be placed directly under the Supreme Council, the party’s highest deliberative and executive body.

Critics, many of them close to former party leader Rep. Park Geun-hye, are opposed to creating such a powerful committee. They say they acquiesced to a proposal for an ad hoc committee as a face-saving concession to the amendment proponents. As such, they say, the panel must be placed under the Policy Committee, a weaker body deliberating on party policy proposals.

The advocates’ efforts to put constitutional amendment at the top of the national political agenda are easily understandable, given President Lee’s recent statement that this year will be a good opportunity for rewriting the Constitution. But constitutional revision is an issue of concern to the ruling party alone.

The proposal to revise the Constitution this year will hardly gain momentum, with the main opposition Democratic Party paying it scant attention. It is the same with the general public, which is apparently much more concerned about such pressing issues as the rising consumer prices.

It may take so much courage for the advocates to give up on the amendment proposal. But they should take the plunge and do so. Enough is enough.
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