President Moon Jae-in on Thursday reaffirmed his election campaign pledge to rewrite the Constitution by next year to strengthen regional autonomy and citizens' fundamental rights.
His government is currently pushing for a referendum on the revision of the decades-old charter in tandem with the local elections slated for next June, amid parliamentary panel discussions on the highly divisive issue.
"The pledge to time a plebiscite to coincide with next year's local elections remains unchanged," Moon said during a press conference marking the 100th day since he took office after a rare by-election triggered by the March ouster of corruption-tainted President Park Geun-hye.
"There is no reason why we can't revise it at least for enhanced regional autonomy and fundamental rights, whether (the revision) is pushed through a parliamentary panel or a special government body," he added, noting an already sufficient consensus over the issues.
However, he noted the need for more discussions on how to retool the current governing structure, which concentrates state power in a single national leader, which has long been blamed for intense political polarization and corruption.
Launched in December, the parliamentary panel is currently discussing how to amend the basic law, which critics say has failed to embrace social and political changes that have transpired since its last revision was made in 1987 to largely prevent authoritarian rulers from prolonging their presidencies.
During his campaign, Moon called for changing the current single-term, five-year presidency into a four-year presidency that allows for a re-election, limited to two terms. He said the change would help ensure consistent policy implementation with long-term visions.
Tabling the proposal for a constitutional revision requires backing from a majority of the 299 lawmakers. The parliamentary passage needs support from two-thirds of the total legislators, while the final revision has to win majority support in a referendum involving a majority of eligible voters. (Yonhap)