Ruling party proposes five-way talks with opposition parties on constitutional revision

SEOUL, The floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party on Monday proposed a five-way meeting with his opposition counterparts to discuss revising the Constitution, saying there is not much time left to come up with a draft that can be put to a vote during June's local elections.

President Moon Jae-in and his ruling party want to hold a referendum on a constitutional revision at the same time as the gubernatorial and mayoral elections, saying now is the best time to revise the basic law because the push for a revision would lose steam after the local elections.

They also say that holding the two votes at the same time would save taxpayer money.

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) agrees in principle on the need for a revision, but it disagrees with the proposed schedule, arguing that holding the polls at the same time would run the risk of politicizing the issue and that the revision needs sufficient deliberations.

Moon has pledged to unilaterally introduce a revision bill unless agreement is reached with the opposition.

On Monday, the ruling party proposed five-way talks with the opposition on the issue.

"Putting together a revision draft at an early date is a task that both the ruling and opposition parties should put in their utmost efforts for," Rep. Woo Won-shik, floor leader of the party, said during a party meeting, noting that polls have shown a majority of people are in support of holding a referendum on a constitutional revision at the same time as the local elections.

Woo urged the main opposition LKP and three other minor opposition parties to accept his proposal for talks.

"Though the Liberty Korea Party talks about a schedule for a revision, it only argues it's impossible to hold the two votes at the same time," Woo said. "This is no different from saying we shouldn't revise the Constitution."

A constitutional amendment requires approval from two-thirds of all 293 lawmakers in the unicameral parliament and a majority of voters in a referendum. The ruling party, which has only 121 seats in the legislature, needs the LKP's cooperation for the passage of any revision bill.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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