Keep the election on schedule

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Keep the election on schedule

The April 13 general election is teetering on the verge of derailing due to the greed and self-interest of politicians. Elections are the constitutional basis for a democratic state, and an election calendar is legally established in order to ensure constitutional law and order. It remains doubtful whether the rival parties can finalize and pass a new electoral map for the 253 constituencies eligible for elected representation by the Monday deadline.

If an electoral map is not made legal by then, the remaining administrative and technical procedures, including the mailing of absentee ballots, cannot proceed on schedule. In fact, we could miss the legal election day.

Yet, the legislature is currently at an impasse, as the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea leisurely wages a filibuster to oppose a counterterrorism bill that it contests could undermine the rights of Korean citizens. And the ruling Saenuri Party is paying little attention. The public is outraged by the audacity of the legislature for showing such little respect for constitutional order. The opposition fully made its point by listing the problems involved in the current counterterrorism bill through debates on the podium over the last five days. National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa proposed a compromise bill by narrowing the scope of wiretapping by intelligence authorities to strictly terrorist suspects who threaten national security. Minjoo Party floor leader Lee Jong-kul indicated his party could accept the compromise.

The Minjoo Party’s original demand to have the National Intelligence Service hand over the right to collect intelligence to the Ministry of Public Safety and Security shows vehement disregard for the institution of the state intelligence office. The Saenuri Party must accept the compromise arranged by the house speaker. Otherwise, it will have to take responsibility for disturbing the election schedule if legislative activities are further delayed. Upon an agreement, the parties must resume the legislative schedule and vote on the electoral map by the Monday deadline. The rival parties must take action to save the election schedule, or else they will face the wrath of voters.

JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 27, Page 26

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