October 25, 2016 12:59
President Park Geun-hye in the National Assembly on Monday detailed the policies for what remains of her term in office and proposed to amend the Constitution so a president can serve more than a single five-year term.
"It's time that we put aside the 1987 Constitution and draw up a new one for the country to make a new leap forward," she said. Cheong Wa Dae later defended Park's "right" to try and amend the Constitution.
Park has so far set her face against any attempt to change the Constitution, citing fears of a "policy black hole." In April she said in a meeting with newspaper editors that a constitutional amendment could harm her efforts to revive the economy, and as recently as two weeks ago she said the timing was wrong.
The U-turn raises suspicions that she is trying to steer public attention away from the corruption scandals surrounding her aides Woo Byung-woo and Choi Soon-sil. But she claims that she changed her mind because she has suddenly discovered "public consensus" and Cheong Wa Dae added officials had been planning the move for some time.
Nobody believes them.
Talk of allowing the president to be re-elected has been in the air for many years. The only thing that has changed is a deepening sense of crisis due to the suspicions of misconduct surrounding Park's cronies. Her approval ratings have hit new lows recently, and even stalwart supporters seem to be walking away.
Park vowed last week to deal firmly with any wrongdoings, but as long as Woo remains in his post prosecutors are hardly going to take their gloves off investigating the scandals. The feeling is that she is too closely tied up with her cronies to move decisively.
So why change the Constitution now? She cannot seriously think that she is going to be re-elected even if the law allows it. The move is nothing but an attempt to kick up dust and is unworthy of the president of one of the world's leading economies.
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