The Moon Jae-in Constitutional Clapback: Don't Get it Twisted
SEOUL, Dec. 20 (Yonhap) -- Moon Jae-in, former head of the main opposition Democratic Party, said Tuesday the right to resist against the government is also stipulated in the Constitution, adding he hopes the country's top court will approve the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye as the people have demanded.
The former head of the Democratic Party currently stands as one of the favored potential candidates for next year's presidential race, which may take place earlier than December as the Constitutional Court is currently reviewing the legitimacy of Park's ouster.
The president was impeached earlier this month by the parliament on allegations of corruption. The court has around 180 days to reach a conclusion on the case.
Moon earlier received backlash from the conservative bloc after saying that there would be a revolution if the court turns down the ouster. Conservatives claimed that Moon's remark clearly violated the rule of law and that he should refrain from exerting pressure on judges.
During the interview with Yonhap News Agency, Moon said he was referring to the Constitutional idea that grants people the right to protest against the government, adding his words should not be misinterpreted.'
"The Constitutional Court is also one of the various mediums that represent the people," Moon said. "I am certain that the court will make a decision that aligns with the overwhelming voice of the people that calls for her ouster, as shown through candlelight rallies."
Protesters here have been staging rallies every Saturday for the past few weeks, where tens of thousands, sometimes more than a million, have gathered in central Seoul, calling for Park's immediate retreat.
Park has been facing her biggest political crisis amid suspicions that her confidante Choi Soon-sil exerted influence on state affairs for personal benefit. Both Park and Choi denied all allegations and made clear they will fight their cases in court.
"If the court makes a decision that contradicts with the people's voice, there's no choice but for the people to exercise their right to resist, which would be like a revolution," Moon added.
The presidential hopeful said if he becomes the head of state, he will put the top priority on bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula.
"It is important for us to take charge in the North Korean nuke issue. Although international cooperation is also important, the issue is for us to settle," Moon said. The potential candidate earlier said he would head to North Korea before visiting Washington once he grabs the top office.
"If we can improve the inter-Korean relationships based on previous agreements, I would head to the North," Moon said. "But there will be also agreements with the United States, China, Japan and other neighboring countries."
The Park administration's plan to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in the country should be discussed by the new president, Moon said. South Korean parties have been at odds over the advanced U.S. missile defense system, with the opposition bloc claiming it would only hurt Seoul's ties with Beijing and Moscow.
"We should discuss more with Washington, while persuading China and Russia. There should be also negotiations with North Korea by bringing denuclearization and the THAAD issue at the same time," Moon said, adding South Korea should be open to other options.
Moon indicated he may consider setting up what he calls a "shadow Cabinet" once the presidential election date is fixed.
If Park leaves office before her official term ends in February 2018, South Korea has 60 days to hold a presidential election. A new president must immediately assume office without a transition period.
Amid such concerns, Moon said there should be some sort of preparation so a new administration can start work almost immediately.
Moon then said he would relocate the presidential office to the Seoul Government Complex and have the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae open to the public as a memorial hall for former presidents.
The contender said the presidential office should no longer be seen as authoritarian and must take steps to be closer to the people.
Moon, meanwhile, stood in the No. 1 spot for the seventh consecutive week at 23.7 percent last week, up 0.6 percentage point from a week earlier, pollster Real Meter said earlier. The survey was conducted last week on 2,528 South Koreans with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.9 percentage points.