Leave Room for Rejection Campaign

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Leave Room for Rejection Campaign

With the Citizens'Alliance for the 2000 Central Elections' (CAGE) decision to push ahead with its rejection campaign, much uproar is expected in the near future. CAGE, by deciding to select 22 of the competing districts in which to concentrate efforts to reinforce anticandidate movements, legal and physical collusion between the Central Election Management Committee, the prosection and candidates may be in store.

Amid the intensified investigation of candidates military, tax and criminal records, candidates already have their hands full. However, to their dismay, the launch of a "rejection campaign" aiming to uproot corruption, regional antagonism, anti-democratic conduct is expected to map out a whole new picture for this general election.

According to various surveys, among the 86 candidates first targeted in the rejection campaign, about 40 appeared feasible election winners. CAGE is now targeting 22 candidates who seem likely to win. CAGE is focusing its limited resources on targeting only the candidates who appear to have a real chance of winning.

In the past, of the candidate blacklists released by CAGE, only 30 percent of its candidate recommendations were reflected in actual nominee lists. In some cases, its blacklists were totally ignored by the party. Some parties even attempted to label the list as 'politically motivated' much damaging CAGE's genuine drive to heighten public awareness. For CAGE, the blacklist strategy was imperative to its public approval as a civic group that upholds political reform for the people.

Few stumbling blocks can be predicted ahead. The Election Law forbids public speech, street protest, signature collections, personal visits and public promotion by the group, including letters. The only path which the CEMC allowed the rejection campaign was the release of lists and an Internet campaign. If the civic group violates laws with high-profile 'road shows', street rallies and the like, the group will most certainly face a serious backlash from candidates, not to mention the authorities. Another obstacle is the nation's looming regionalism. Candidates from a particular party in Kyungsang and Cholla provinces have been barely influenced by the rejection campaign. Breaking down the old barriers will be quite a challenge for the group.

We are without doubt that the rejection campaign is part of a process to confirm the viability of the candidates, and a well-meant civic movement for the goal of true political reform. Therefore CAGE must continue its efforts to come up with rational movements that can win the hearts of the public.

The rejection campaign deserves the same rights as that of a campaign to win seats. CEMC and the prosecution should respond with more flexibility when responding to the campaign. It is a healthy civic movement aimed to provide more information to citizens when selecting their governors. The campaign can not merely be written off as a violation of election codes.

by Yang Young-yu

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