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Lawmakers Accused Of Violating Election Law In Danger Of Losing Seats

Lawmakers Accused Of Violating Election Law In Danger Of Losing Seats

Posted July. 03, 2001 19:59,   


Following the results made by the court on seven lawmakers, who were accused of violating the Election Law in the 4.13 General Election last year, Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) Lawmaker Chang Sung-Min and Grand National Party (GNP) Lawmaker Choi Dong-Woong are on the verge of losing their seats at the National Assembly.

Three other alleged election violators - Reps. Lee Ho-Woong (MDP), Chang Young-Shin (MDP) and Shin Hyun-Tae (GNP) - avoided the danger of losing their parliamentary seats. They were fined more than 1 million won by the lower court. Under the election law, the election of candidates is declared null and void if they are fined more than 1 million won.

Seoul District Court (Kang Byung-Sup, senior judge) sentenced Rep. Jang`s campaign manager to 10 months imprisonment with two-year suspension. The Court also sentenced Rep. Choi Don-Woong’s chief accountant Choi to 10 months imprisonment with two-year suspension. If the rulings on campaign violations are upheld by the Supreme Court, these two lawmakers will lose their seats.

However, the court ordered Reps. Lee Ho-Woong, Chang Young-Shin, and Shin Hyun-Tae, who were fined 1 million won respectively by the lower court, to pay a 1 million won fine respectively. Reps. Cho Jung-Moo (GNP) and Lee Chang-Bok (MDP) were ordered to pay a fine of 0.7 million won and 0.5 million won respectively. They were ordered to pay the same amount of fine by the lower court. Therefore, these five lawmakers could retain their seats.

The court said, ``The election of lawmakers, who violated the election law through the systematic and systemic illegal campaign by letting their accountants provide a large amount of campaign money several times during the campaign, should be declared null.`` However, concerning the lawmakers who could retain their seats, the court said that ``it is difficult to say that the number of distributed business cards and the amount of donated money were not significant enough to influence the election.`` The court said, ``Although lawmakers violated the election law, it should be decided carefully as to lose or retain the seats depending on the charges. The court decided sentences based on whether the illegal election campaign was systemically and systematically operated and whether the lawmakers’ practices of the campaign can be accepted by the people.``

Meanwhile, the court postponed a ruling on an appeal made by MDP lawmaker Sim Kyu-Sub whose sentence was expected to be made along with other seven lawmakers.

Lee Jung-Eun lightee@donga.com