Call for cleaner nominationsEach political party is making unpleasant allegations over its nomination process for the local elections that fall on June 2. Some candidates have even been deprived of their candidacy on corruption charges right after being nominated by their party. Others are complaining that their party’s nomination process was not transparent.
The conflict between the nomination screening committee and the supreme committee is growing as the election nears, and lawmakers are heightening friction over their support of particular candidates. In this situation, politicians’ pledges to reform their own party’s nomination processes are just empty slogans.
Among 230 heads of the regional governments elected four years ago, almost half - 110 - were indicted on charges of fraud and corruption. One of them, Min Jong-kee, governor of Dangjin County, South Chungcheong, was even stopped at the airport trying to flee the country with a forged passport a few days after grasping a nomination from the ruling Grand National Party again. Yet no one is willing to take responsibility for such an abnormal situation.
In the upcoming local election next month, voters must cast their ballots on six categories of candidates. Therefore, it’s almost impossible to verify each candidate. Political parties, on the other hand, can serve this indispensable function for grassroots democracy. That’s why they were given the obligation to examine the nominees thoroughly and transparently from the beginning. Most voters cast their ballots without knowing much about each candidate and put their faith in a political party’s nomination screen system. But the screening process is seriously flawed, betraying voters’ trust.
Considering only the likelihood of victory, a public opinion poll may be the best way to choose a candidate for nomination. But that is a barrier too high for rookie politicians to surmount. Recently, a candidate who was indicted on charges of bribery for manipulating the outcome of a popularity poll managed to clutch a nomination from his party.
Moreover, lawmakers are just busy putting their favorite candidates on the political map, distancing themselves from “reformative nomination.” Even the nomination screening committee and the supreme committee, both of which can serve as referees in the brawl, are fighting with each other for a stronger voice in the nomination process.
Local elections are about electing representatives who execute an enormous budget and having the right to allow or block various development projects. Our efforts to make grassroots democracy work should start from a strict and fair nomination process.