[EDITORIALS]Electoral foul play continuesAs the nation proceeds toward the legislative elections, more and more people have been caught violating election laws. According to the National Election Commission, the number of culprits has already exceeded 2,000. Of these, 200 cases are said to have a high probability of leading to the nullification of the candidate’s election. The fact that there are three times as many reports of election illegalities as in the 16th legislative election tells us there will be a lot of repeated elections.
The commission announced Friday that the old habit of providing food and beverages while asking for support seems to be hard to get rid of. There is a case in which, to drum up support for a party nomination, 1.2 million won ($1,000) worth of dinners were given to 200 locals who were herded to a restaurant in a bus. A recent survey revealed that Our Open Party is suspected of having broken election law in 614 cases; the Grand National Party’s and the Millennium Democratic Party’s numbers are 472 and 309, respectively. Under such circumstances, it is hard for anyone to say that this year’s election is different from the ones in the past, or that politics has improved for the better. Judging from a case in Cheongju, in which negative propaganda on a candidate was funneled to another candidate, things are still like the old days, except that the methods of cheating are getting more sophisticated.
The April 15 election holds the future of our country. It will decide whether our politics can cleanse itself of briberies, and of the old grievances between provinces, and take on a mature outlook. The fact that the reality seems not to have changed much is truly sad.
We urge the commission and organizations that are responsible for keeping the election clean to do their best. We have to root out bad apples and, regardless of their status, deliver justice so that they won’t set foot in politics again. Due to the rewards being offered, reports from the people of illegal electioneering have increased, indicating that with a strong will, uncovering the illicit deeds should not be so hard. After the 16th legislative election, 11 elections were repeated. Even if we have to hold 10 times as many, if it helps to establish a new election culture, the people will be ready to bear the painful process.