[EDITORIALS]We need to insure fair electionsPresident Roh Moo-hyun’s claim that the activities of “People’s Participation 0415,” a pro-Roh coalition, should be “both legally and politically encouraged” is unfair. That is so because it raises questions about whether the president is using his authority to affect the April 15 National Assembly elections.
The president’s latest remark is in the same vein as his comments at last year’s ceremony commemorating his election anniversary. In the ceremony, called “Remember 1219,” Mr. Roh stressed the importance of a civic revolution and asked his political supporters, Nosamo, to rally one more time.
Thus, isn’t “People’s Participation 0415” the response of his supporters to the president’s call? Major groups leading the coalition are Nosamo, People’s Power and Surprise, groups that attended the “Remember 1219” ceremony.
The coalition is controversial because it has already said that it will rally, devise election strategy and prepare campaign funds for the candidates it endorses. The coalition has also said, “Most of them are likely to be Our Open Party candidates.”
It is openly endorsing a specific political party, yet the president is asking for a “wide interpretation” of the election law to deal with it leniently. These are dangerous words. The prosecution, the National Police Agency and those agencies that fall directly under the command of the president can understand Mr. Roh’s words to mean that they should deal benignly with possible violations of the election law by the coalition or other civic groups that are favorably disposed toward the president.
It is a grave matter that the president continues to push civic groups to advance the goals of a certain political group. It would be a great national loss if civic groups that should advocate public causes lose the people’s confidence and are shunned by them because of their involvement in political controversy.
The National Election Commission has asked the president to cooperate for fair elections. It is a measure meted out when it senses a possible infringement of the election law or a threat to fair elections. It is in effect a yellow card. Yet just 10 days later, the president has provided yet another reason for controversy about his actions.