[EDITORIALS]Corrupt voters are at faultElectors who allegedly received millions of won from a candidate who ran for president at a Daegu-based apple cooperative were recently detained. So far, electors who have received money from candidates in various elections have been lightly punished by being indicted without detention. But the Daegu case suggests that electors whose votes are bought may start receiving harsher punishment. Such punishment, coupled with the ongoing discussion in political circles to reform the election system, is likely to lead to an overhaul of election practices involving illegal money. The Daegu case may be key with legislative elections coming up.
Since the end of the Japanese occupation, Korea’s presidential and legislative elections have been marred with campaign finance scandals. Recently, the New Korea Party, predecessor of the Grand National Party, has been accused of using government agencies to collect illegal funds from businesses during the last legislative elections. Also, Kwon Roh-kap, former supreme council member of the Millennium Democratic Party, is said to have received billions of won from Hyundai during the last legislative campaign. Now the nation is reeling from yet another campaign finance scandal, this one involving last year’s presidential campaign. Small-scale elections such as for university president and local government oppositions haven’t been immune; they have been plagued by the same accusations this year.
Candidates who try to buy an election should be held responsible, of course. Still, electors who think receiving money, entertainment and gifts from candidates is acceptable should be blamed as well.
Those who are elected by giving money to voters will try to recover that money and prepare for their next election while they are in office, and that is why they are prone to corruption. One cannot expect true leadership from such figures.
Even if authorities introduce a better system to reform election practices, it will fail unless voters realize that taking money from candidates is wrong, and so break the corrupt chain between money and politics.