[EDITORIALS]A critical election day arrives

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[EDITORIALS]A critical election day arrives

Today is voting day for the 2004 legislative elections. It is a day of choices. Every election is important, but today’s is particularly meaningful in that 299 citizens’ representatives will be selected.
Today’s choice by voters will determine the next four years. But it will also influence the longer term and the life of the nation’s next generations. The right choice this time will give the nation hope.
Voters must remain calm. They should not be deceived by the actions of political parties that appeal to voters’ emotions. They should not be dazzled by a party’s grandiloquence that it represents “justice” while its rivals reflect “injustice.” They also should not be deceived by campaigners who libel other parties, under the guise of neutrality, to support their party of choice.
It would be wrong for voters to exercise their voting rights for their own catharsis. It would be foolish of them to vent their wrath over particular parties or issues, or help to solidify the nation’s already entrenched regionalism.
We have a long way to go. Our unbalanced economy, predominantly based on exports, may collapse if we take one wrong step. Such diplomatic and security issues as North Korea’s nuclear programs, the relationship with the United States and the troop dispatch to Iraq are changing day by day and they require the government and people to make new decisions every day. The high unemployment rate, rising oil prices and economic distress are problems that urgently need to be solved as well.
Voters should scrutinize each candidate, considering all the issues the nation is faced with. They should determine which candidates care about the basic economic issues, which are capable of National Assembly work, and which can defend the security and identity of the nation.
Many politicians are trying to forcibly impose their values and thoughts on voters. They are using such tactics as fasting, tonsure, tears and Buddhist bowing to appeal to voters’ emotions. Voters should inquire whether these politicians are doing so for the everyday life of the public. We hope voters choose qualified politicians who care about and discuss the life and future of people rather than those who only make an effort to get elected.
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