Alleged election rules violations surge in 2012

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Alleged election rules violations surge in 2012

With less than a month until the country’s 19th general election, a report by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office showed yesterday that the number of campaign activities that allegedly violate the country’s election rules has doubled compared to the previous legislative election held four years ago.

According to the office’s public security division, a total of 495 candidates have been charged with promoting illegal activities ahead of the general elections next month, of whom 19 have been placed under arrest. The figures are more than doubled from the previous general election in 2008 when a total of 229 candidates were charged and among them only three were arrested.

“The previous general election wasn’t as competitive [among parties and candidates] since it was held after the presidential elections,” said an official from the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office. “This year, however, the competition for both ruling and opposition parties has heated up greatly, and we expect illegal election practices to surge.”

Of the 495 charged, 14.2 percent were indicted while 12.7 percent were exempted from indictment. The rest are still under further investigation. Around 40.4 percent of the total have been charged with accepting election bribes, while another 21.2 percent were charged with using false propaganda against opposing candidates.

Some of the illegal activities against the country’s election law include using false propaganda against the opposing candidate and offering bribes.

Defaming a rival candidate on the Internet is also included in the list of election rules candidates should abide.

Also, according to the election law, a candidate is allowed to hire less than three officials working for his or her campaign office and can raise up to 150 million won ($133,226) worth of political funds from supporters.

As part of efforts to take more severe measures against election illegalities, the prosecutors’ office said it will intensify its monitoring of candidates’ possible corrupt campaign activities.

By Lee Eun-joo []
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