Gov’t emphasizes decentralization in Constitutional revision proposal
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Gov’t emphasizes decentralization in Constitutional revision proposal

September 13, 2019

The nation’s top office has been disclosing
the content of its proposed revision to the Korean Constitution. In the second part of its detailed summary,
Cheongwadae explained its approach to the decentralization of power… and what it calls
“economic democratization.” Hwang Ho-jun tells us more. Seoul. Area-wise, the metro area takes up only 12
percent of South Korea. But with more than half of the country’s 50
million-plus population, it’s home to 74 percent of the nation’s top one-thousand corporations,
and 80 percent of the top-20 universities. According to the Blue House, the administration’s
bill seeks to change that,… by boosting the authority and autonomy of local governments. “President Moon said decentralization and
balance are indisposable values, and that through coexistence and cooperation, they
are the best strategy for sustainable national development.” Stressing the need for strong local governments,
the Blue House said the revised Constitution will stipulate in its general provisions… South Korea’s identity as a country striving
for decentralization. The administration’s proposal will make it
easier for local governments to make their own laws… by expanding their competencies. It will also pursue decentralization by allowing
local governments to set their own tax rates. And to make their roles clear, the bill stipulates
that local governments will pay for their own administration,… while the projects
they undertake will be paid for by the central government or other municipalities. Also to develop regions outside Seoul, the
revision would allow for the national capital to be changed through legislation… if it
becomes necessary to relocate government functions or agencies. It’s something that the courts ruled impossible
under the current Constitution when the previous Roh Moo-hyun administration tried to relocate
the capital to Chungchungnam-do province in 2004. In addition to decentralization, the government
bill focuses what the Blue House calls “economic democratization.” The bill would add the word “coexistence”
to the economy section of the Constitution to stress the need for the nation to strive
for economic fairness and equality. On that note, the government has decided to
define a concept called “Public Ownership of Land” in the revised Constitution, which
would allow the state to impose restrictions and/or obligations for public purposes,….
an effort to put an end to excessive real estate speculation. A Constitution must uphold the spirit of the
times. And today the people are demanding decentralization
as well as remedies for inequality and unfairness. Wednesday’s briefing at the Blue House was
the second of its kind on the proposed revisions. The last one will take place on Thursday on
matters concerning the proposed form of government. Unless the National Assembly comes up with
its own revision bill, the Blue House will submit its proposal next Monday. HWANG Hojun, Arirang News.

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