[EDITORIALS]Abuse of pardon powerThe government plans to grant pardons to 140,000 people on Friday, Liberation Day. The president has the power to give a new chance to minor lawbreakers, and there should be no doubt of the legitimacy of the system.
But it is done too often, and it is beyond the law’s intention to pardon those who violated election laws and engaged in corrupt dealings. There have been consistent calls to revise the law on pardons and establish an independent pardons committee.
It is the norm in other advanced countries that pardons involving election law violations and corruption are given only under strict guidelines in order to make elections cleaner and limit the chances for corruption.
This government calls itself the “participatory government” and vowed to reform politics. But now it is saying it will include election law violators in the upcoming pardon.
This contradicts the government’s expressed goal of political reform, which starts with election reform. The country’s history attests to the fact that corrupt and illegal elections are the beginning of political corruption. What is needed for political reform is strict application of election laws and changes to unrealistic measures. Pardons are not the way to reform; it is nonsense to promise political reform and then overrule court decisions so that those convicted can run for office again. The government has nobody to blame but itself for criticism that pardons are used to help people close to the administration. The pardons will also include 120,000 bureaucrats, the third-largest number in history. If wrongdoings are erased from their personnel records, it will discourage all the government workers who worked conscientiously to uphold the law. The government will be hard-pressed to maintain morale in public service under such circumstances.
The proliferation of pardons is not going to help improve law and order. The law on pardons must be amended so that the principle of the separation of the three branches of government is upheld, and administrations are stopped from exercising judicial power that they do not have.