[EDITORIALS]Clean campaigns, good newsThe National Election Commission said yesterday that it has ordered 11 election candidates who are suspected of using illegal campaign tactics, such as giving cash or treats to lure voters, to submit accounting and financial records. Several of the 11 were considered probable winners in the April 15 elections.
We hope the commission thoroughly traces the financial records and clarifies whether there was illegal or unfair competition.
Clean elections are what Korean people yearn for. They are essential for the development of politics.
We hope the chronic ills of elections in Korea, “money” elections, will be uprooted in the upcoming elections. At a microscopic level, that will determine whether Korean politics can make a leap forward. In the macroscopic view, the future of Korea is at stake.
To the delight of those who are worried, “money elections” seem to have almost disappeared during the election campaign period. That can be attributed to changed thinking among most citizens and anti-corruption schemes that the government has employed, such as rewarding informants with 50 times the value of bribes given to voters.
Among encouraging signs are acting President Goh Kun’s comment yesterday that “money elections” have decreased significantly. And despite promises of promotions, policemen who are working to catch election law violators were not successful because candidates were being careful.
We are unhappy that there are still candidates who have not jettisoned old habits. They should be punished; they can destroy a fair and clean election. Candidates may feel tempted to spray money around if their race is close. It is necessary to warn them by punishing violators sternly as an example to others. We encourage the government to watch closely whether there are candidates who violate the law by mobilizing their supporters secretly.
It is now a social consensus that election criminals must be kicked out of politics. Judges who handle election law violators agreed to give heavy sentenecs to violators. We also hope the courts will speed up election-related trials so that we do not see lawmakers take office and then cling to it until their term is over.