[EDITORIALS]Ensure clean campaignsCampaigns for re-election of representatives at four constituencies, where last year’s election results were nullified by the court, were launched officially yesterday. It is anticipated that the 13-day campaign, which will end at mid-night Oct. 25, will be the fiercest so far. It is because the leadership of both the ruling and opposition parties think these election results will influence local elections scheduled for May next year. It is especially likely the results this time will trigger a new political situation, because they are connected with the complex internal situation of each party.
Under such circumstances, a controversy over irregularities has brewed surrounding the way applications for absentee votes were submitted ― via proxy. It was revealed that proxies submitted some scores or even hundreds of absentee vote applications. It is difficult to exclude the possibility of vote buying under such circumstances. Both the ruling and opposition parties have volleyed attacks at each other, indiscriminately claiming the other side is trying to win the elections through corrupt means.
The overall political atmosphere also fans the election heat ever higher. The recent controversy over Kang Jeong-koo, a Dongguk University professor, has loomed large as the hottest issue in the campaign. Re-election of a legislator should be decided after considering various factors, but it could now be decided by the stale dichotomy of confrontation between conservatives and liberals. With the overlapping of such factors, the atmosphere of the campaign is now turning from that of local elections to one of a general election. We even get the impression it is too late to appeal to the parties to exercise self-restraint.
It is required more than anytime else, therefore, that the electorates make wise decisions. They must keep in mind they elect not only a local representative, but one who will work for the nation. They must remember this when they cast their votes. It must be remembered that the votes at those four constituencies, though they be small in number, can change the flow of politics.
The Central Election Committee must not allow any election irregularities that will distract the sound judgement of the voters. It is important to disclose and punish corrupt practices, but this should also be preceded by preventative measures. Showing a strong will to take resolute measures against corruption is a must.