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`Anti-Campaign Restriction Is Constitutional`

Posted August. 31, 2001 09:01,   


The Constitutional Court of Korea (CCK) ruled that the election law article, which restricts anti-campaign conducted by civil organization, is constitutional. The CCK also ruled that all lawmaker candidates cannot use illegal printed materials such as business cards from 180 days prior to the election day.

And the article, which prohibits rookie candidates to distribute their business cards while active lawmakers can perform pre-election campaign through their political activity report, has been ruled as constitutional as well.

The Nine Justices (NJ) of the CCK (main judge Kwon Sung) unanimously rejected yesterday the appeal filed by the Citizens Solidarity for the General Election against the election law article 58, in which they argued, ``It is unfair to restrict the public campaign of the voters, because it should be considered as a same election campaign conducted by the candidates.``

The NJ made it clear by saying, ``Although an anti-campaign by a third party can be distinguished from anti-campaigns among candidates due to its public nature, it is still an election-campaign and, therefore, has to be restricted since an anti-campaign against an inappropriate candidate can be a pro-campaign toward an appropriate candidate.``

The same justices (main judge Ha Kyung-Churl) also turned down Millennium Democratic Party lawmaker Lim Jong-Seok`s appeal against the election law article 93-1 that bans all candidates to use printed materials including business cards from 180 days prior to an election day. The justices said, ``It is constitutional since is an inevitable restriction to create the foundation for a fair election.``

Regarding article 93-1, five justices including Han Dae-Hyun ruled that, the article 111 (article allowing political activity report by the lawmakers), which treats rookie candidates unfairly comparing to active lawmakers, is also constitutional, saying, ``It is just a reflective effect that protects privilege and freedom of lawmakers.``

However, four justices including president of the CCK Yun Young-Churl ruled, ``The article impinges candidates` equal right that allows only 16 days of campaign period, since it allows active lawmakers to conduct campaigns under the form of political activity report even before the official campaign starts.``

Shin Suk-Ho kyle@donga.com