[EDITORIALS]Choe’s proposals have meritIt is worth listening to Grand National Party Chairman Choe Byung-yul’s proposals for political reform. There are some fresh ideas that give hope to voters who are sick and tired of the battle over political funds. They include abolishing local party chapters, shuffling the party’s proportional representatives with new faces, abolishing money-consuming joint election speeches of candidates and requiring the use of checks and credit cards for political activities.
Abolishing local party chapters has long been a pending task of the political community. Both the ruling and opposition parties know that this is the first step toward eradicating corrupt politics. Local chapters have been a burden to lawmakers: They have to pour an enormous amount of time and money into managing local organizations, instead of concentrating on their legislative activities. Still, they could not get rid of them because they could not ignore the reality that the local organizations are connected to the votes they get in elections.
Mr. Choe’s promise to reform the system of selecting party candidates for proportional representatives is also a viable proposal. He also said that he will provide legal measures to prevent political parties from accepting donations from business. Though belated, we welcome it wholeheartedly.
These should not stop at mere words. Within the Grand National Party, those who do not want to give up vested interests are strongly resisting Mr. Choe’s proposal. Many difficulties are expected along the way. Suitable and feasible plans should be provided and promoted step by step.
These should not be temporary measures to evade difficulties from the investigations of illegal political funds.
Getting rid of the winner’s premium is most important in political reform. If we cannot get rid of the old practice that winning an election even with dirty money is the best policy, the next election will be another tainted one. If we cannot accomplish political reform now, when the whole nation is shaken by illegal political financing, it will never be possible.