[EDITORIALS]Don't forget the election

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[EDITORIALS]Don't forget the election

The June 13 local elections are being overshadowed by the World Cup soccer games. The voting will take place five days from now, but the public's attention is riveted on television screens showing images from the World Cup. No one seems to notice the banner-wearing, bowing candidates, ornaments at subway station entrances, in front of large markets and apartment complexes.

Most of the voters are ignorant of who the candidates are for the rural towns, county and district offices and three subsequent local councils. They seem to know the candidates for metropolitan and provincial governorships as they will have an effect on the presidential election in December.

For a public mesmerized by the drama of a soccer game, drawing their attention to the races, resounding with foul play and slander, is nearly impossible. As a result the reaction will be political indifference: I do not care who will stand in candidacy and be elected. The danger of this indifference is that its victims are the voters themselves. When politicians forecast a low turnout, they are bound to resort to organizational prowess and cash to attract voters to the booths. That may lead to an unqualified candidate being elected. This is so-called distortion of people's will resulting from a low turnout ratio. In the past we have already witnessed that such unqualified officials who were elected owing to low turnout have launched rampant developmental plans under the guise of the "local economy" and that these officials have been more susceptible to irregularities and corruption. Indifference causes problems for grassroots politics.

We cannot be faithful democratic citizens by lamenting and venting anger over communities damaged by foolish local management. Voters must exercise their duty and rights by casting votes.

Public releases sent by the election commissions should be opened, and the pledges the candidates are making should be reviewed carefully. Go online and visit the central election watchdog body Web site, www.nec.go.kr, and browse through the candidates' past performances. And go out to the joint speech rally scheduled on the weekends. And there will still be time to watch the match between South Korea and the United States on Monday.

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