Candidates warned to keep it clean

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Candidates warned to keep it clean


In the countryside of Namyangju, Gyeonggi, workers at a factory transform small vehicles into sound trucks on which candidates for local elections can stump from today, when the local election campaigns kick off. [YONHAP]

On the eve of the campaign for the June 2 local elections, the National Election Commission yesterday warned parties to play fair and reminded civil servants to maintain strict political neutrality.

Yang Sung-tae, head of the National Election Commission, issued a statement yesterday urging voters to participate in “the important election to select 3,991 representatives who will lead welfare, regional development and education policies that are directly linked to our daily lives.” He implored voters to carefully compare the pledges of candidates and scrutinize their abilities to implement them.

Yang also urged parties to compete fairly within the framework of the law. “The commission will sternly punish election law violators, no matter who they are,” he said.

Yang also issued a warning to public servants. “Civil servants must pay heed to not commit any action that may bring about doubts on their political neutrality or be construed as an intent to influence elections,” he said.

Ahead of the start of the campaign period, heads of the three largest political parties sparred at a debate yesterday. Grand National Party Chairman Chung Mong-joon, Democratic Party Chairman Chung Sye-kyun and Liberty Forward Party Chairman Lee Hoi-chang described their parties’ positions on key issues at a debate hosted by the Korea Broadcasting Journalists Club that was broadcast live by major networks.

The highlight of the debate was the three politicians’ views on the Cheonan’s sinking. While the GNP and LFP leaders said it has become clear that North Korea was behind the attack and the government must react sternly, the DP head warned conservatives not to politicize the issue.

“I think it is important to urge the Chinese government to reconsider its military alliance with North Korea,” said Chung of the GNP.

“We need a strong and immediate response to the provocation to make sure that there will be no recurrence of a similar incident,” said Lee.

The DP’s Chung questioned the government’s decision to announce the results of the international probe today. “Why is the conclusion to be announced on the first day of the official campaign period, and why does the president have to address the nation [on the issue] before the elections?” Chung questioned. “I think there is a hidden political motive.”

By Ser Myo-ja []
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