[EDITORIALS]Polls needs attention, tooThe looming local elections are not attracting attention. While the people's interest is centered on the World Cup games, the presidential election dominates topics of discussion and voters' concern. Some predict the turnout rate will fall below 50 percent for the first time in the history of nationwide elections. In that case, the controversy over "distorted will of the people" would flare and some will claim that the local elections are of no use. The voters are not prepared to vote on a candidate, although election day is around the corner.
A prediction of low voter turnout tempts candidates to resort to illegal activities. They are lured by the idea that the number of votes they can count on, including people around the candidate, party members and some public servants, will be enough to be successful in the election. The influence of money and organization will appear greater than ever. Reflecting the atmosphere surrounding the election, 4,500 irregularities have been uncovered to date, 10 times that of the last local election, in June 1998.
This is the result of violations by some candidates, lack of supervision by the law enforcement authorities and the indulgence of civil servants who line up before the candidate of their choice. Voters' indifference provides the one ingredient needed to spoil our elections. The majority of people do not understand the effect of local elections on people's daily lives. The local not the central government has the greatest influence on problems of environmental, development and transportation issues, including real estate development projects, love hotel construction, parking facilities, schools and cultural programs.
But the residents do not pay much attention to candidates for local assemblies and local governments except candidates for governor and city mayor. We have to divert some of our attention from the World Cup and presidential election to local elections and what are the qualification of candidates and what are the important local issues.
The local elections will unfold properly only when the candidates and the voters join the process together.