[EDITORIALS]Back to the ‘good old days’

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[EDITORIALS]Back to the ‘good old days’

Our Open Party’s alleged confidential campaign strategy that was recently made public aggravates our concern that the next legislative elections may be influenced by the abuse of governmental authority.
According to the secret documents, the party will form an election campaign headquarters consisting of the party, the administration and the Blue House. That is a return to the 1950s or 60s.
The documents even said, “if we stimulate some nationalistic sentiment at the right time, it will work to consolidate our support base for those who are in their 20s, 30s and 40s.” To arouse nationalistic sentiments, the documents suggested, the party should play to issues such as activities of pro-Japanese Koreans during the 1910-1945 colonial period, the Tokto islets, the history of the Goguryeo Dynasty and policy toward North Korea.
Are they issues that can be played by a particular party so that it can garner more votes? Using such issues in a campaign is the paragon of populism.
The party denied that the documents were real, and suggested that they might have been prepared by an overeager junior staffer.
But the explanation is unconvincing. First, the “aimed-for number of lawmakers’ seats” suggested in the documents are very close to targets that President Roh Moo-hyun and the party chairman, Chung Dong-young, once suggested. Also, such parts as “the Millennium Democratic Party is expected to obtain between 6 and 13 percent of votes in the Seoul metropolitan area,” suggest that the documents were prepared after some opinion research.
The “confidential” stamp on the documents and their date, Feb. 10, make us doubt that the documents are “experiments” by working-level officials.
Most of all, the documents reflect Mr. Roh’s explicit support for the party, cabinet ministers’ and top government officials’ moves to the party and recent pork-barrel policies designed for the next elections.
We worry that such a strategy will cause repercussions if the party wins the elections. Who would be happy with National Assembly tainted with improper government intervention?
The National Election Commission must find some courage and act on this matter.

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