S. Korea observes 70th Constitution Day amid calls for revision
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S. Korea observes 70th Constitution Day amid calls for revision

August 23, 2019

Marking the 70th Constitution Day today,…
we take a look back at how South Korea’s Constitution has been amended over the decades, and whether
we will see a promised tenth amendment any time soon. Kim Mok-yeon reports. Seven decades ago today, South Korea formally
adopted its first constitution. It has been amended 9 times since then, with
each revision reflecting the nation’s footsteps towards democracy. Past revisions focused on the nation’s power
structure. In 1972, Korea’s former president Park Chung-hee
changed the constitution to allow indirect presidential elections, and in 1980, the constitution
was revised to adopt a seven-year, single-term presidency under then-president Chun Doo-hwan. But through the June Democratic Movement in
1987, the dictatorship came to an end and the constitution was once again revised — to
allow direct presidential elections and a five-year, single-term presidency. “Since then, Korea has been observing the
9th revised version for the past 30 years. Its basic principles center on the sovereignty
of the people, separation of powers, and the pursuit of peaceful unification of the two
Koreas.” Lately, there have been calls for a tenth
revision, and President Moon Jae-in had expressed hopes that the process could have been held
alongside the local elections in June. But opposition from numerous lawmakers meant
the plan was scrapped. “With the societal changes that have occurred
over the past decades, such as the development of IT, and issues concerning low birthrate
and an aging society, public demand for the revision has been strong, as many want to
directly participate in creating a new constitution. ” In Korea, any constitutional revision requires
the support of more than two-thirds of the members of the National Assembly before it
can be put to a national referendum. But according to experts,… with the current
distribution of parliament… prospects for a constitutional amendment in
the near future don’t seem too bright. Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.

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