Seoul Mayor Believes Next President Should Have Shortened 3-Year Term?
SEOUL, Dec. 23 (Yonhap) -- Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, a potential presidential candidate, said Friday that South Korea should revise the Constitution and hold the presidential and general elections simultaneously in 2020.
South Korea could go to the polls to pick the country's next chief executive a few months earlier than expected if the Constitutional Court upholds parliament's decision to oust President Park Geun-hye.
"We should finalize the revision of the Constitution by 2019, which marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean government in exile during Japan's colonial rule," Park said during an interview with Yonhap News Agency. "We should open the new era in 2020 by having the presidential and parliamentary election together."
Politicians here have been debating over a revision in the country's Constitution, adding the existing presidential system should be changed to disperse power.
Supporters of the revision say the alleged influence-peddling scandal involving Park and her confidante Choi Soon-sil, who is suspected of exerting power over state affairs, proves that a revision is long overdue.'
"Even if the next president's term is reduced to three years, the president would be taking the important role in overcoming the past's irregularities and establishing a new country," Park said. "The role must be taken by a capable person who can lead the people through communication."
The mayor said although it is inevitable to seek a revision, the country only has a limited amount of time to carry out the needed discussions before the next presidential election.
Park said the people should also be granted the right to participate in the revision procedures.
Along with the revision, the mayor said the general election should be amended to allow younger people to participate, while expanding the number of proportional lawmakers.
"I also acknowledge that I need to make up my mind (on the presidential bid) for the people to make the right decision and choice," Park said, adding he will make a decision that is in line with people's demand.
Although he has not yet confirmed he will run, Park said if he was given a chance, he would fight against inequality.
The mayor especially vowed to eradicate privileges given to family-controlled conglomerates and business tycoons, adding the country's laws currently do not seem to apply to such people.
Park, who has been a human-rights lawyer, activist and charity operator, recently set a record as the longest-serving Seoul mayor. He has held the current post for five years and two months since being elected in 2011.
The mayor said the drop in his approval ratings in recent polls does not concern him, adding he has been making gradual efforts to win trust, and that the numbers will go up once he passes the "tipping point."
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is not linked to any party and widely expected to run on a conservative ticket, and former Democratic Party chief Moon Jae-in are currently leading in the polls, followed by Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung.