[EDITORIALS]Clean up politics from the startWith the election season getting well under way, unethical practices such as mob-gathering, indiscriminate slandering and mudslinging have reared their ugly heads again. It is fortunate that this year’s campaign season seems to be progressing more smoothly than in the past, thanks to the stricter implementation of election laws and the voters’ disgust with corruption. However, as the election season nears its conclusion, the number of misconduct reports filed with the National Election Commission has gone up to more than 100 a day from 50 to 60 a day. Many of these are reports about flagrant violations of the election laws.
The election watchdog pointed out that large crowds, almost equal to that of party rallies in the past, are mobilized when the leaders of major parties go around the country campaigning for their candidates in the provinces.
It has almost become a maxim that money is used to mobilize the crowds and that those who attend these rallies are paid. The party leaders are denying the significance of the revised election laws that ban party rallies. The ultimate reason that our country was constantly rocked by campaign finance scandals is that it takes a lot of money to run for office.
We need to put a stop to out-of-control rallies in politics. The public should not be turned into a mob. We should create an atmosphere where every individual can quietly make his or her own decision.
More candidates appear to be slandering opponents this year compared to the last legislative election. Because candidates cannot use money as freely as before, they seem to be concentrating on bringing down their rivals with malicious talk.
It is ridiculous that there is even a rumor that a secret slush fund amassed by President Park Chung Hee has been delivered to daughter Park Geun-hye, chairwoman of the Grand National Party. Every claim candidates make should be backed by evidence. The slandering online among the candidates has reached dangerous levels.
If a candidate bribes voters, strict disciplinary measures should be taken. Negative campaigning should be stopped as well. The only effective measures against these violations are preventive ones. We must find ways to control unruly campaign activities pre-emptively.