Voter fraud in the UPPThe way Lee Jung-hee, co-chairperson of the Unified Progressive Party, has responded to a fabricated opinion poll to determine a unified candidate for the Kwanak B District in Seoul is contrasted sharply with the cause of a “fair election and responsible politics,” for which she and her party have fervently advocated. In the disgraceful incident, two of her campaign staff encouraged members of the liberal party to lie about their ages so that she could win candidacy in the traditionally liberal constituency. Thanks to her sly tactics, Lee snatched a victory over her rival from the main opposition Democratic United Party by a slim margin.
Lee explains that the number of text messages her campaign aides sent to party members is relatively small - amounting to only 200. We are dumbfounded by her naive recognition of the situation. What matters is not the number of text messages, but her immorality as the head of a political party to urge voters to lie. We have seen many fraudulent cases involving dirty money or supporter mobilization in mobile election races or participatory nomination races, but there has been nothing like encouraging voters to lie in the democratic process. Liberalism thrives on morality, yet does she believe such an attempt is trivial? If fraud affects the election results, any victory is nullified.
Lee, however, claims that the blunder is a result of her campaign staff’s loyalty, not an organized intervention by her as the head of the party. Our election law mandates that an election be annulled if a candidate’s spouse or aides are sentenced to a certain degree of penalty for violating the election law, thus making both of them accountable.
When a low-level secretary of Saenuri Party lawmaker Choi Ku-sik was accused of launching a cyberattack against the National Election Commission Web site on the day of the Seoul mayoral by-election, the UPP blasted Choi as the culprit. Though the prosecution found that Choi was not involved in the incident, he resigned and left the party. As a result, he could not get a nomination for the April 11 legislative election.
Park Young-sun, a member of the DUP’s Supreme Council, resigned from her post after taking responsibility for all the problems with the party’s nominations. She, too, has called for Lee’s resignation from the campaign. To save the collapsed morality of the liberal camp, Lee must demonstrate her responsibilty. She has demanded a renomination race, but there is no race that allows an immoral candidate to run for an election again.