In 2004, the National Election Commission warned the former President Noh Moo-hyun that the person in charge of Election Commission should not violate the electoral law. Then the National Assembly voted on the bill for President Noh’s impeachment and asked the Constitutional Court for impeachment judgment. The candlelights, at that time, opposed the impeachment of the president and its judgment failed after 62 days. 12 years later, in 2016, the second president impeachment bill passed the congress and immediately, its judgment was demanded. This time, the candlelights wanted the impeachment, establishing Constitutional Court’s approval in only 92 days.
Impeachment judgment on high ranking officials, including the president, is a judicial trial with political qualities. In Korea’s case, by the Constitution, the Constitutional Court takes charge of the impeachment judgment. Of course, the Constitution demands legal process of impeachment from the National Assembly before the actual impeachment judgment begins. In the case of the impeachment judgment, an impeachment bill has to be passed from the National Assembly. Korea demands two-stage process by the National Assembly and the Constitutional Court, making the impeachment more difficult. Since the impeachment is decided by the Constitutional Court, it is not a political trial.
The fact that impeachment judgement is juridiction judiciaire, makes the Constitutional Court to abide only the principle of law. Therefore, the Court must not be influenced by the candlelight rally or the Taegeukgi rally. Even though the Constitutional Court is not a part of the judiciary branch, the constitutional judge must be made through the constitution and law when making the verdict. The impeachment judgment is decided solely by the constitution and law. Of course, we all know where the public is sided through the candlelight rally.
In a representative democracy, the government exercises the power which comes from the public. The president is a governmental and a constitutional institution but in a law-governed democratic country, the president is just a volunteer voted by the public. The power given by the public is the same as duty and responsibility. Most of the authorities, however, focus on exercising their power and neglect their duties and responsibilities. Abuse of power comes from forgetting them.
Once the president’s impeachment is accepted, the president is dismissed. In this case, new president has to be elected in 60 days. Since the period of election is shorter than the usual presidential election, it is difficult to verify the candidates. This time we need to vote for someone who will not be tempted to use privately one’s own power and go along the life of the public. In Korea’s democracy, university students always took part in. They were the leaders of the “4.19 Revolution” in 1960, and it is not so much different today. The spirit of university students taking disciplinary actions towards arrogance of authorities and opposing injustice is the vitality and the future of our country. Democracy blossoms flower through participation of nations. We should not forget the spirit shouting for social justice and opposing injustice.
Kim Sang-gyum firstname.lastname@example.org
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