Ruling on Chungcheong seats urged

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Ruling on Chungcheong seats urged

Saenuri Party Representative Chung Woo-taik yesterday filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court calling for a decision on the current election districting system, which allocates a smaller number of seats at the National Assembly to Chungcheong than Jeolla, even though Chungcheong now has a bigger population.

The third-term lawmaker - who represents Sangdang District of Cheongju, North Chungcheong, and formerly served as governor of North Chungcheong from 2006 until 2010 - submitted the document on behalf of 28 of his fellow Saenuri lawmakers born in Chungcheong.

The move comes two days after a group of lawmakers representing North and South Chungcheong provinces demanded an increase in the region’s National Assembly seats in a press conference, in which they urged a correction in the imbalance in current electoral districts.

They claimed that Chungcheong votes were valued less in elections, which violated democratic principles, and argued that a discussion to redraw the electoral districts for the April 2016 general elections was necessary to accurately reflect the change in the regional population.

Currently, 30 seats in the 300-seat National Assembly are allocated to Jeolla, with 25 for Chungcheong. Gangwon Province, which has nearly the same population as Chungcheong, is represented by 28 lawmakers.

The population in the Chungcheong region has steadily grown, and surpassed that of the Jeolla region for the first time in May.

As of May, Chungcheong had 5,250,136 residents, 408 more than Jeolla’s population at 5,249,728.

In August, the gap increased. Chungcheong had 5,259,841 residents, while Jeolla had 5,249,747 - a difference of 10,094 people.

“The number of lawmakers representing Chungcheong is smaller than that of Jeolla, limiting the political and equal rights of Chungcheong residents,” Chung said in a press conference yesterday.

He argued, however, that he was not trying to imply that he wanted the number of seats for Jeolla to be reduced.

“We had no choice but to mention the population of Jeolla because we needed to indicate the unfairness of the number of seats for Chungcheong,” he said.


BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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