[FOUNTAIN]Things Happen (but Not in Korea)

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[FOUNTAIN]Things Happen (but Not in Korea)

The switch of Senator James Jeffords from Republican to independent brought a seismic shake-up to the U.S. political landscape. Mr. Jeffords' defection caused a shift in control of the Senate, giving all committee chairmanships to Democrats and affecting the Bush administration's conservative agenda on defense, telecommunications, energy and banking.

What would happen if the same situation came up in a politically backward country? What action would those in power take to combat such a serious threat? First, they would mobilize the tax office, because a lawmaker serving multiple terms would presumably have quite a fortune. The tax authorities would investigate whether he had evaded taxes or made any illegitimate purchase of real estate by making false residence registrations. If the defector's family owned a business, the tax office would start an undercover tax probe.

Second, state prosecutors would arrive on the scene. They would investigate if he had ever been involved in graft cases, if his wife can be arrested for gambling, if his children were exempted from military service or given preferential university admittance. Based on the results of the tax probes, prosecutors would wheedle or coerce information out of those connected to the lawmaker to find "evidence."

Third, enters a spy agency. It would leave no stone unturned in the search for weaknesses, including affairs with women, using every means possible no matter whether legal or illegal. All his relatives - not to mention himself and his family - would be subject to scrutiny from those three state apparatuses mentioned above.

What if those actions fail to stop him from leaving? There is another way - obtain another lawmaker, from the opposition party or an independent. How?

Use the same methods outlined above to pressure him, while at the same time luring him with a lot of money or the promise of a key position. What if the opposition party strongly resists and the press takes its side and cries foul? Just suppress the dissident newspaper companies by investigating possible tax evasions or violations of fair-trade laws. Look for irregularities on the part of their owners. Levy hefty amounts of fines on newspaper companies and get the owners arrested or take their hands off management.

But this is just my wild imagination at work. This could not possibly occur in a "People's Government," led by a president who has won the Nobel Peace Prize. Although there have been incidents of the ruling party "renting" some of its lawmakers to its allied party and of some politicians pledging their dying loyalty to the president, the last thing that the People's Government would do is to abuse its power or violate the constitution or laws.

by Cho Hyun-wook

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