Moon had planned to hold the referendum concurrently with the June 13 local elections, citing the need for a Constitution that reflects the times, and the reduction in election-related costs that would result from the changes in his proposal.
Saying that both ruling and opposition blocs had pledged to amend the Constitution, Moon went on to accuse the political parties of “repeating irrationality.”
“Neglecting the Referendum Act for over three years is incomprehensible to me. It is difficult for me to comprehend the country’s politics (in which) such irrationality is repeated without any thought.”
|President Moon Jae-in speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on April 24, 2018. (Yonhap)|
Moon also stressed that the bill proposed by the government is aimed at increasing the power of the people, and said that his administration will devise ways to implement changes included the bill.
Major changes proposed in Moon’s bill include lowering the voting age to 18, increasing the public’s participation in politics and authority given to the voters and strengthening local governments. The bill also proposed allowing two consecutive four-year presidencies from the next presidential election.
The Referendum Act was ruled unconstitutional in 2014 for limiting the suffrage of overseas Koreans.
With the National Assembly failing to revise the act by the end of 2016, the act has been void since.
The ruling Democratic Party of Korea had pushed to revise the act by Monday, but the attempt failed due to a deadlock at the National Assembly over issues including the latest online opinion-rigging scandal involving a high-profile ruling party lawmaker.
The act had to be revised by Monday for the government’s Constitution revision bill to be put to a referendum on June 13, given the review period required by law.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)