Government Wastes 7 Billion Won on Election Supervision

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Government Wastes 7 Billion Won on Election Supervision

A group of 20 housewives, aged 30-40, sit under a tree behind a platform where an election campaign event is taking place in South Kyungsang Province. The nondescript group of housewives were selected to be campaign monitors, whose main duty is to report any violations of the electoral law. The monitoring group was formed by the Central Election Management Committee in an effort to promote transparency during the sixteenth general election.

The speeches of the candidates reach a fever pitch, but the ladies merely sit under the trees, and drink their drinks. They are not supervise the election campaign, they are merely killing time. Some ladies even left the campaign site before the speeches ended. They were no different from the paid audience drawn to the election campaign site, except that they were wearing armband to indicate their titles of election monitors.

When questioned about their work, one monitor carelessly answered that "none of the audience was paid to attend the campaign rally.". However, the truth was different, after walking around the audience to gather more information. It was easy to overhear people saying such things as "someone was paid 30000 won to sit through the campaign." The monitors did not even try to look for any people who were suspected of being paid to attend.

The perfunctory supervision continued at another street campaign near the previous campaign site on April 6. There were only 3-4 monitors, and the supervision was not effective at all. They only checked the identification of supporters of the candidate. A supporter of an election candidate said "the monitors never even visited the district office of our party." He seemed not to pay attention to the monitors.

There are 50 monitors in each electoral district. The total number of election supervision monitors throughout the nation is 11,000. They are paid 40,000 won everyday, to cover expenses and transportation fees. The government will pay over 7 billion won from the national treasury over the course of the 16 day election campaign period.

If the Central Election Management Committee expected an active supervision by the monitors, they should have conducted strict training. A source from the CEMC said that "we announced supervision tips, even though an official education regarding the election law was not conducted." He added that "only minor violations have been reported from time to time, because the monitors are not actively participating."

There are only 'voters and monitors who show up to get paid' at the site of the sixteenth general election campaign. The true voters and monitors have been absent.

by Jo Min-geun

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