Sort out unqualified candidatesThe April 11 general election will be recorded as the worst one in terms of the qualifications of the candidates. Neither the ruling nor the opposition party is free from the criticism that they have failed to screen their candidates carefully. The controversy over candidate qualifications is a testament to our parties’ cursory nomination process, not to mention opinion poll rigging and mobilization of the electoral college. Both the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic United Party have an indelible stain on their reputations.
The ruling party had to cancel nominations after one candidate turned out to have made de-rogatory remarks about women and another had handed out money to reporters. The party even gave up on another candidate mired in a plutoc-racy in one district. Despite such measures, the party does not seem to be fully aware of its shod-dy nomination process, as it is still refusing to drop Moon Dae-sung, who was found to have plagiarized his doctoral thesis.
The DUP has faced similar scandals. It faced a strong backlash after having nominated Lim Jong-seok, the party’s secretary general, for a seat in a district in eastern Seoul after he was found guilty of violating a political funding law. In the end, the DUP had to cancel his nomina-tion. Meanwhile, Lee Jung-hee, the Unified Pro-gressive Party co-chairwoman, also had to bow out of the race following charges that she fabri-cated the results of opinion polls in order to win her nomination.
The biggest controversy, however, comes from Kim Yong-min, a unified DUP-UPP candi-date in the Nowon A District. He has come under heavy criticism for the raunchy remarks he made in the popular podcast “Naneun Ggomsuda” (“I’m a Petty-Minded Creep”), which he co-hosts. Kim turned out to have uttered extremely derogatory remarks about women, senior citi-zens and church.
Regardless of the barrage of requests for his resignation from both the ruling and opposition parties, he is continuing his campaign. For a politician, that’s a dereliction of duty. When former Grand National Party (now Saenuri Par-ty) lawmaker Kang Yong-suk came under attack for his sexist remarks, the DUP demanded his resignation. Kang left the party and could not get a nomination for this election.
Candidates are the face of a political party. If a party fails to sort out the unqualified candi-dates in a timely manner, the candidates should be deprived of their nominations. The parties should take action on this — before it’s too late.