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Minor opposition leader Cho Kuk calls for cut back in Yoon’s term

By Jung Min-kyung

Published : May 17, 2024 - 17:20

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Cho Kuk, leader of the minor opposition Rebuilding Korea Party, speaks during a press briefing held at the National Assembly in Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap) Cho Kuk, leader of the minor opposition Rebuilding Korea Party, speaks during a press briefing held at the National Assembly in Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap)

Cho Kuk, leader of the minor opposition Rebuilding Korea Party on Friday called for a constitutional reform through the incoming parliament, including the adoption of a two-term, four-year US-style presidential term limit, instead of the current single-term, five-year system.

Cho remarks are in line with the main opposition Democratic Party’s earlier proposal to adopt the US-style system, but observers said it was an attempt to cut back President Yoon Suk Yeol’s remaining three years in office.

“With the start of the 22nd parliament, the National Assembly and the people should start discussions (over the possibility of) a constitutional reform,” Cho said in a press briefing held at the Assembly in western Seoul.

A total of seven legislations should be amended, according to Cho. Changing the term of the presidency and removing a clause in the Constitution that gives prosecutors the exclusive right to apply for arrest warrants, were the two key pillars of Cho’s proposal.

“(Our party) believes it is only right to cut back the term of the current president by adding clauses to the Constitution,” Cho added.

In late 2019, Cho was indicted on a dozen charges, including bribery and document fraud in an attempt to send his son and daughter to a prestigious high school and a medical school, respectively. The Seoul Central District Court in February last year convicted Cho of forging documents in the scandal and peddling influence to interfere with a corruption probe involving a Moon confidant. The Seoul High Court upheld the lower court’s decision a year later.

Cho served as justice minister under the liberal Moon administration for only 36 days in the fall of 2019. He stepped down after the scandal led to an investigation by the Supreme Prosecutor's Office. At the time, Yoon was prosecutor general.

Cho launched his own Rebuilding Korea Party just about a month ahead of the April 10 parliamentary elections.