중앙데일리

Authorities Hesitate to Act on Civic Groups' Defeat Movement

Apr 05,2000

The National Election Commission (NEC) and the prosecution have been driven into a corner over the election "defeat movement" staged by the Citizens' Alliance for the 2000 General Election (CAGE).

On March 2, the NEC sent an official letter calling for civic groups' cooperation in the name of Lee Yong-hoon, head of the NEC, to 13 organizations, including CAGE, the Citizens' Coalition for a Fair Election, and the Citizen's Coalition for Economic Justice. While CAGE have staged street campaigns and collected signatures, both prohibited by the existing law, and released another blacklist of unfit election candidates, the NEC‘s dilemma has been growing.

The NEC is nervous about CAGE's actions, because if the intentional violation of the law in the name of a defeat movement is ignored, it may affect NEC's basic electoral management of political parties and candidates.

The NEC's position is that it will take a firm position on illegal election activities. The NEC directed its local chapters to restrain illegal CAGE actions, and if a stronger deterrent is necessary, to invite the assistance of the police.

Despite such a plan, the NEC is troubled because the arrow-tip of public criticism is bound to be aimed at the NEC if public opinion decides that the NEC has made an issue of the civic groups' defeat movement while turning a blind eye to other illegal election campaigns.

A prosecution official said on April 3, "The defeat movement itself is legal, but if the method is illegal, we have no choice but to examine whether it requires legal action on our part."

The prosecution has clearly directed that if CAGE is engaged in large-scale rallies, door-to-door visits, street demonstrations, or signature-gathering activities, CAGE is breaking the law.

Nevertheless, it appears that the prosecution will be hard pressed to stamp out CAGE's violation of the law.

In connection with the CAGE street campaign in February which aimed to collect enough plaintiffs to file a lawsuit to nullify nominations, the NEC took the case to the prosecutor's office. However, the investigation is as yet unfinished. This is because CAGE staff have not responded to subpoenas, claiming that they are busy with the defeat movement. The prosecutors do not want to clash with civic groups by forcibly summoning and arresting related personnel.

The prosecution also feels reluctant to invoke its judicial rights because public opinion backs the civic groups' defeat movement.

Those both inside and outside the prosecution believe that the further course of action will only be determined after the general elections anyway, given the fact that the ballot is only nine days away.




by Park Seung-hee







선관위 고민

중앙선관위가 총선연대와 또한번의 충돌을 앞두고 고민에 빠졌다.
 선관위는 지난 2일 이용훈(李容勳)위원장 이름으로 협조공문을 총선연대·공선협·경실련 등 13개 단체에 보냈다.시민단체가 할 수 있는 선거운동과 할 수 없는 선거운동을 나누고 선거법을 지켜달라는 내용이었다.지난 주말에는 선관위 간부들이 총선연대 지도부와 만나 불법행위 자제를 요청했다.
 그러나 막상 총선연대가 낙선대상자 명단 발표에 이어 현행법으로 금지된 길거리 캠페인과 서명운동을 하겠다고 나서자 선관위의 곤혹감이 커지고 있다.
 선관위가 총선연대의 움직임에 촉각을 곤두세우는 것은 낙선운동을 내걸고 벌이는 의도적인 실정법 위반행위를 방치할 경우 정당과 후보자들을 상대로 한 기본 선거관리까지 영향을 받을 수 있다는 점에서다.
 일단 선관위는 불법행위에 대해 강력 대응한다는 원칙론을 확인했다.그리고 총선연대의 불법행동에 대해 현장 제지는 물론,경찰의 협조를 얻어서라도 강력 저지할 것을 일선 선관위에 지시했다.
 이런 방침에도 불구하고 선관위의 고민은 남는다.혹시라도“불법선거운동은 내버려두고 시민단체의 낙선운동만 문제삼는다”는 쪽으로 여론이 흐를 경우 비난의 화살이 쏟아질 수도 있기때문이다








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