Stop election interferenceOn Thursday, the National Election Commission will discuss whether President Roh Moo-hyun violated the election law. On Saturday, the Grand National Party filed a complaint regarding his lecture at the Participatory Government Evaluation Forum. The commission should not have waited until the party reported the case. The commission has been monitoring minor violations so it is hard to understand why the election commission waited until the case was reported. President Roh’s remarks violate the law. The National Election Commission and the Constitutional Court already concluded that the president must not participate in election campaigns. But the president said it would be “horrible” if the opposition party assumes power, and attack-ed the opposition party’s presidential hopefuls. The president had government bodies research opposition party presidential hopefuls to attack their pledges. He did not carry out his duty to stay neutral for the election. He also misused his position and violated the regulation that prohibits people from staging election campaigns before the official campaign period starts.
He still does not seem to feel sorry for what he’s done. President Roh has already received many warnings about violations of the election law. But he doesn’t seem to care. In the Cabinet meeting yesterday, he even asked, “In which countries are presidents prohibited from political activities?” If the election commission rules that the president violated election law, the president plans to file a plea with the Constitutional Court. That means he in-tends to intervene in the election campaign until election day. The National Election Commission’s hesitation in investigating the case will encourage him to interfere. The commission cannot then implement its duties properly.
It became clear that the Participatory Government Evaluation Forum is reminiscent of a political party which was formed to exert influence on the election. The forum is a way to stage election campaigns while avoiding duties of law on political parties. If the forum is left intact, other presidential hopefuls might create similar private organizations. If the election commission only gives a warning and lets it go unpunished, the very foundation of party politics will be shaken. A violation of election law must not be left alone as an object of political debate. Some might have a sly idea and try to use this for the campaign. There is no need for the National Election Commission if it cannot implement the law and regulations to establish order in election campaigns.
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