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GNP floor leader wants debate on Constitution

Rep. Kim Moo-sung, floor leader of the ruling Grand National Party, proposed Monday that parliament organize a special committee to lead discussions on Constitutional amendment.

A mainstream faction of the party has recently renewed its drive to revise the Constitution written in 1987 to change the current single-term five-year presidency and allow re-elections.

The drive, however, is unlikely to easily gain momentum with the lukewarm position of opposition parties and the GNP faction close to former chairwoman and strong presidential hopeful for the 2012 election Park Geun-hye, who all cite low public interest in the issue.

“Let’s organize a special parliamentary committee on constitutional amendment during this month’s extra assembly session and start discussions open-mindedly,” Kim said in his parliamentary speech.

Parties, if they disagree, should at least pass a law fixing schedules for discussions on the amendment, he said.

“If the constitutional revision is being pushed with any political intention, I myself will desperately block it,” Kim said.

“The GNP suggests discussing the matter with all possibilities open without any prejudgment or pre-set conclusion.”

Kim also apologized for his party’s ramming a national budget bill through parliament in December.

The incident caused physical fights with lawmakers from the main opposition Democratic Party who were against the bill on Dec. 8, causing more than two months of political deadlock.

“I apologize for letting you down and express regret to fellow lawmakers of the ruling and opposition parties,” he said.

Calling South Korea’s free trade agreements with the U.S. and the European Union as the country’s “lifelines,” Kim called for cooperation from the opposition to get parliamentary ratification of the pacts.

As for North Korea’s proposal for parliamentary talks with the South, Kim said the proposal will be accepted only when the North apologizes for its alleged torpedoing of the South Korean navy ship Cheonan in March and shelling of Yeonpyeong Island near the tense west sea border in November, and promises that no similar future provocations will occur. 

(Yonhap News)
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