[EDITORIALS]Problematic candidate blacklist

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[EDITORIALS]Problematic candidate blacklist

A coalition of civic groups yesterday released a list of candidates for the April 15 elections who they believe are unfit to be lawmakers. The 208 candidates include 135 incumbent lawmakers running for reelection who supported the impeachment bill against President Roh Moo-hyun. Of the 135, 100 were on the blacklist solely because they supported the bill rather than because of illegal or corrupt acts. This has raised criticism that the list is biased toward a particular party.
As long as they observe the law and use their own standards, it is not wrong for civic groups to create blacklists. But this particular coalition is an association of many civic groups, giving it a heavy influence on voters. Thus, the appropriateness of this list needs to be tested.
A problem with the coalition’s list is that its standards for selecting target candidates are in tune with the slogan of Our Open Party, which says those who supported the impeachment bill should be rejected. Far from its original intent, which was providing candidates’ information to voters, the coalition is now in fact engaged in election campaigning for a certain party. We believe it is wrong for the coalition, which must maintain impartiality as an influential civic group, to use the controversial issue of impeachment as the standard to determine who makes it onto its blacklist.
A numerical calculation also suggests the list is biased. Of the 208 in the list, only 10, or 4.8 percent, are from the de facto ruling Our Open Party. The remaining 95.2 percent are either from opposition parties or are candidates without party affiliation. In particular, 100 on the list belong to the Grand National Party, and 52 to the Millennium Democratic Party. However hard the coalition may try to argue that the list is legitimate, one may ask how this coalition is different from the “civic groups” of the past that were paid by the government.
The coalition deserves the criticism that it is an affiliate of Our Open Party.
The coalition claims that “voters believe that the impeachment was wrong.” This claim seems to be based on post-impeachment opinion polls.
We would ask: “Why was the public’s low approval rating of President Roh’s first year not used as the standard for creating the blacklist?”
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