President Moon Jae-in (Source: EPA) 
 
Seoul (VNA) – The Republic of Korea (RoK) government passed a constitutional revision proposal at a cabinet meeting on March 26 under the chair of Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon before sending the bill to the National Assembly for approval.

President Moon Jae-in signed the proposal electronically from the United Arab Emirates, where he has been on a four-day visit since March 24.

This is the first time since 1980 that a President of the RoK has proposed changes to the Constitution.

If approved, the bill will be opened for a public referendum to be held at the same time with the country’s local election on June 13.

The proposal centers on changing the current single five-year presidential term to a maximum of two successive four-year terms, while curtailing presidential powers and strengthening the rights of the prime minister and the National Assembly.

The current five-year single term was introduced, along with a direct presidential election system, when the Constitution was last revised in 1987 after decades of military-backed authoritarian rule. It was designed mainly to prevent the sitting president from seeking to remain in power after a single term.

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party and some minor opposition parties criticized the government for drawing up the proposal unilaterally, arguing that such an important proposal should be worked out through negotiations among parties.

In particular, the LKP denounced the proposal as a political show ahead of the June local elections.

Earlier in January, President Moon called on lawmakers to revise the Constitution and stressed that a national referendum at the same time with local election will save 120 billion won (112 million USD).-VNA