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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 January 2007, 06:38 GMT
S Korea head proposes law change
President Roh Moo-hyun
Roh Moo-hyun would not be affected by any changes
South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has proposed amending his country's constitution to allow future heads of state to seek a second term in office.

He suggested cutting the presidential term from five to four years, and allowing incumbents to seek re-election to serve a maximum of eight years.

President Roh said the new system would promote the continuation of policies and increase stability.

Any change will not affect Mr Roh, who must step down in February 2008.

South Korea first adopted a single-term presidency in 1987, after decades of authoritarian governments.

But there have been increasing calls for the law to be revoked, to allow successful presidents more time in power.

National referendum

"The single five-year term adopted in 1987 aimed at preventing long-term rule has served its purpose," Mr Roh said.

It "damages presidential responsibility as it is impossible for the president to have his performance evaluated through the next election," he added.

He said he would collect views from the South Korean people and then formally put forward a bill proposing the necessary constitutional amendments.

Such bills must be approved by at least two-thirds of members of parliament, and confirmed by a national referendum.

Mr Roh himself was elected president in late 2002, but during his term in office his popularity has plummeted.

His approval ratings currently stand at about 10%, and the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) is seen as more likely to provide his successor than his own ruling Uri Party.

Country profile: South Korea
10 Nov 06 |  Country profiles
Profile: Roh Moo-hyun
14 May 04 |  Asia-Pacific

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