Prepare for election terrorPark Geun-hye, the former Grand National Party chairman, received a bulletproof jacket as a birthday gift yesterday from her supporters. This illustrates that the danger and insecure feelings from terror attacks are widespread with the upcoming presidential election.
In May, last year, Ms. Park was slashed in the face by a man during an election campaign rally at the time of the local elections.
North Korea has repeatedly announced that it opposes the Grand National Party, which it calls the “pro-American privileged forces,” assuming power. That sounds like North Korea wants to intervene in South Korea’s presidential election, and we cannot rule out the possibility that it will use violence to do so. Extremists in South Korea might attack a certain conservative candidate, too.
Some forces that want to throw the election into chaos may stage terror attacks on presidential candidates regardless of their political convictions. Thus, the candidates of the Uri Party and the Democratic Labor Party are not safe from possible attacks either.
Nonetheless, the current institution to protect presidential candidates is very flimsy. The police begin to guard presidential hopefuls after they register as candidates, which is 23 or 24 days before the election. Before that period, if a party requests protection for its candidate, it is afforded if police deem it necessary.
The Grand National Party proposed a bill to force the police to guard the presidential candidates of major political parties from the day the party endorses them.
The National Assembly should consult with the prosecution, the police and the Office of Presidential Security to create effective protection.
There should be debate on what should be done if a given strong contender in the campaign is killed in a terror attack with an election drawing near. Under current election law, the election commission extends the registration deadline by five days for the party that lost its candidate. If six days have passed, the party cannot produce another candidate.
Some worry that because of this flaw, terror attacks might take place in the final weeks before an election. To prepare for this eventuality, a measure for postponing elections should be debated.
Terrorists fear the eyes of voters more than hundreds of policemen. If something seems suspicious, voters should sound the alarm. We should not let our election system, a symbol of democracy, be ruined by terrorists.