|President Moon Jae-in, second from right, speaks during a Cabinet meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, Tuesday. Moon expressed concern over missing the Monday deadline to revise a referendum law for the constitutional revision in tandem with the June 13 local elections. / Yonhap|
By Park Ji-won
President Moon Jae-in expressed his regret over the Assembly's failure to revise the referendum law for the constitutional revision together with the local elections, as well as failing to keep the promises he and all the political parties made. The ruling party also expressed concern and strongly criticized the LKP over the failure.
"I didn't keep my word to hold the referendum for revising the Constitution together with the local elections. I publicly express regret and concern in front of citizens," President Moon said during a Cabinet meeting, Tuesday.
"All political forces made a promise to citizens that they will revise the Constitution by holding a concurrent referendum vote. With my knowledge, it is not acceptable to move onto the next agenda as if nothing happened and leave the Constitution unchanged for more than three years after the referendum law was ruled unconstitutional."
The remarks came after the Assembly failed to reach a consensus on revising the referendum law, which was ruled unconstitutional in 2014 for limiting the voting rights of South Korean citizens living overseas. The deadline of the revision was Monday.
Moon added he would decide what to do for the revision bill after the inter-Korean summit which is scheduled to be held Friday. He also requested each government ministry come up with policies that reflect the purpose of the revised Constitution bill.
President Moon Jae-in submitted his own reform bill last month to stir lawmakers into action to come up with their own. While the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) agreed to adopt the bill, opposition parties objected to the President's "unilateral" move, as well as saying they consider the bill to lean toward "socialism."
The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) announced its own revision bill following the government bill, however, with different views regarding the presidential power structure. The LKP has been insisting on holding a referendum in September.
Leaders of the ruling DPK echoed Moon, blaming the LKP for boycotting the Assembly only to derail the revision.
"A precious opportunity to revise the Constitution after 31 years went in vain because the opposition party has made every effort to interrupt the amendment," Rep. Woo Won-shik, floor leader of the DPK, said during a party meeting, Tuesday.
"Every promise the LKP made has turned out to be lies. The LKP made excuses not to participate in the Assembly in order to derail the Assembly as part of efforts to block the amendment of the Constitution."
DPK policy chief Kim Tae-nyeon also criticized the opposition party, saying the LKP's move to derail legislation is a political action for the local elections.
"The opposition party should apologize to citizens for breaking their pledge to put a referendum together with the June 13 local elections before they ask for a special investigation into the online opinion-rigging scandal," Kim said.