[EDITORIALS]Bribing voters is wrong, too

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[EDITORIALS]Bribing voters is wrong, too

The beginning of the six-month moratorium on donations to social groups by political candidates in local elections reminds us of next year's voting schedule. The nation will be bustling all year over the June elections to select heads and council members of 248 local governments, followed by the presidential election in December. The National Election Committee has launched its preparations, establishing centers for reporting campaign violations.

Elections are festivals, taking into account that they select the people's representatives to work for society. At least elections should seek to be festivals. But the practice of disguising illegal campaigning as the speedy processing of civil petitions is already rampant. Reckless attempts to win the favor of voters ?even to bribe them ?will certainly spread as election day draws near. The situation will turn to the worst when the parties nominate their presidential candidates and wage their struggle to gain a foothold in the presidential election in the course of the local election campaigns.

Concerns have arisen that the confusion at the end of President Kim Dae-jung's term will reach its peak as the entire nation is engulfed by election fervor. Some predict that the stability of the national economy may be threatened and the economic crisis deepened due to the abrupt release of cash.

The firm resolution of the citizen is required to write off such gloomy prospects and open a new era of election campaigns. Citizens should keep a watchful eye to eradicate vote-buying practices, since the election committee and strict legislation are not able to uproot the abuses completely. Those who witness candidates bribing voters should immediately report to the election committee. It is the only way to mend the ill practice of money-oriented politics.

The people should be able to judge candidates' abilities precisely. The local election is an important test of the election campaigns to come. Wholesome campaigns will be established when the voters actively punish candidates who try to buy votes ?by not electing them.
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