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Koreans Agree on Presidential Vote by Dec. 20

September 02, 1987|Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — The leaders of the governing party and the main opposition party agreed today on a political timetable that calls for holding South Korea's first direct presidential election by Dec. 20.

In 2 1/2 hours of talks, Democratic Justice Party President Roh Tae Woo and opposition leader Kim Young Sam of the Reunification Democratic Party also said widespread labor unrest should be settled without government intervention. It was the first time the two leaders met for official talks.

Roh and Kim failed to reach agreement on opposition demands for the release of all political prisoners. The opposition says 400 people are being held for political reasons.

Spokesmen for both parties appeared satisfied with the outcome of today's talks at the National Assembly. Agreement on a timetable is considered vital for ensuring elections and a smooth transition of power early next year.

Lee Min Sup, spokesman for the governing party, said the election timetable calls for the National Assembly to pass constitutional amendments clearing the way for direct elections by early October and holding a national referendum on the new document before the end of October. Presidential elections would be held by Dec. 20, with a specific date to be set after the referendum, he said.

Roh and Kim did not agree on a date for legislative elections. The opposition favors a vote before a new government takes over in February, while Roh's party wants them afterward.

Student protests, Page 8.

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