Roh Moo-hyun hints at early retirement

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has hinted he could give up power earlier than the end of his term if it would help foster political harmony in the country, according to comments released Wednesday by his office. Roh has recently made numerous calls for a coalition government that have been spurned by other parties, but the remark appears to go farther than previous comments on what the president would do to partner with other groups. He has said such a system could resolve regionalism and the politics of divisiveness in the country. Roh's single five-year term expires in 2008. The president has also recently expressed concern about his low popularity, telling the nation in a televised town hall last week that he was concerned about whether he could carry out policies. Roh's popularity rating was around 70 percent when he took office in 2003, but has recently plunged to 29 percent. Roh was impeached last year after the opposition accused him of incompetence and illegal electioneering, but reinstated by the Constitutional Court.

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