Open the booksThe verification competition between the prospective presidential candidates within the Grand National Party has always been fierce, but now it is becoming an appalling spectacle. At least one candidate presents suspicions about another every day and they do not hesitate to deploy vicious propaganda.
The dispute regarding how Lee Myung-bak’s residence registration transcript and abstracts were obtained are a good example.
Lee’s side is highlighting the illegality of the procedure through which his rival Park Geun-hye and National Assemblyman Kim Hyuk-gyu acquired the documents, which cannot be issued without the consent of the person in question. Park’s side is placing more importance on the truthfulness of their suspicions, rather than the procedure by which the data were acquired.
From the standpoint of the people, it is not easy to make a judgment. If we are to acknowledge information that has been acquired in an illegal manner, our society will fall into distrust and confusion. However, there are other issues. Although personal information is disclosed at the time when presidential candidates officially register in late November, the one month between then and the election is not enough for effective verification.
Even if the media were to verify candidates, there is little opportunity to do so under current legislation because it is illegal to release residence registration abstracts or transcripts unless one has the consent of the person in question. In this situation, it is impossible to verify candidates.
Park Geun-hye has disclosed her personal records yesterday. A few liberal-bloc candidates have released their records as well.
Of course, these moves may be an attempt to sidestep a difficult situation, as Lee’s side claims.
However, aside from this political maneuvering, candidates need to open their personal records so that when the time comes for the election race, the people can see how the candidates obtained their wealth and performed their duties as citizens.
There is a saying that presidential candidates should not have private lives that need to be protected. In a country with a presidential system, the president’s role is so big that even personal details must be open to the people. Only then can the people truly know the candidate and make the right choice. Anyone who is serious about becoming a presidential candidate should voluntarily open their lives to the world.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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