[EDITORIALS]Unity for vote a hard climbAlthough the presidential election is only about a month away, we are in the embarrassing situation of not knowing who the candidates are. The main news is not political platforms but negotiations for a unified candidate between Roh Moo-hyun of the Millennium Democratic Party and Chung Mong-joon, the National Unity 21 candidate. With each side engaging in rapid counterproposals to the other side's plans, the officials of both parties, not to mention the public, are confused.
Apart from the difficulties of fielding a unified candidate because of completely different policy platforms and political goals, there is the added problem of people being concerned with how the process would work. The people's primary favored by many is no longer possible because Mr. Chung objects to it. There are other methods, such as opinion polls and television debates, which are especially controversial.
Regarding opinion polls, both the election management committee and political parties hold that there is no problem as long as the poll is carried out by independent institutes. If these institutes employ biased methods in their polling, they will be held liable for violating the election law. But the committee reserves its position on television debates, saying that it will wait for a unified candidate.
The Grand National Party says mobilizing public broadcasters to cover events related to political parties would violate the impartiality public broadcasters are supposed to exercise. Article 8 of the election law, which stipulates the impartiality of media coverage, would be trampled on, the party claimed. The MDP, on the other hand, says there is no problem, claiming to reflect the public's interest. The impartiality of media coverage and the free-press principle are in conflict. The parties confront each other, and the election committee keeps silent.
Apart from the impartiality that might occur, the procedure of unifying candidates will create confusion. Instead of clinging to the idea of a unified candidate, it would be better for both sides to weed out controversial elements in the procedure before hand.