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[Editorial] Constitutional Court Leads Electoral Revolution

[Editorial] Constitutional Court Leads Electoral Revolution

Posted October. 26, 2001 08:54,   


Although laws on fair election and prevention of illegal election activities that define the representative`s constituency and such have incrementally improved with each election, the complex relationships and dealings between representatives and party bosses make it hard for campaign reform to become reality. In actuality, the situation promotes political corruption, dead votes, exacerbates district conflicts, creates further obstacles for policy driven elections, and makes it difficult for fundamental changes to take place.

The Constitutional Court has decided that the existing election law which limits the population variance for each voting district from a maximum of 3.65 to 1 actually violates the Constitution law that every vote must have equal value. Since the decision will go into effect in 2003, the 17th National Assembly representative elections will have to undergo drastic changes even if the upcoming special election will proceed under the current law.

Despite expressing the view that the population variance should be put between 2 to 1, the Constitutional Court decided that the limit be 3 to 1 in light of the fact that it has dealt with the problem for only five years. Yet, the current trend makes it likely that a 2 to 1 rule will be applied from the 18th elections on.

Although the National Assembly member represents the people and the district in a unicameral system, it is problematic if this leads to disregarding the Constitutionally protected equal value of every vote. Following the court`s recommendation that the voting district population variance be reduced to 2 to 1 is the best way to resolve district conflicts and promote societal growth. Under the current election law, rural resident votes have a value four times greater than urban resident votes. If this problem is not addressed, it may create more problems for future progress.

The Constitutional Court judged in July that the current national constituency election system violates the Constitutional principle of direct election since it distorts the principle of popular support for party candidates. Although a system of appointing representatives by party presidents further corrupted the political process and increased malfunction, the political authorities could not improve the situation by itself.

The Constitutional Court`s decision will reorganize the voting district lines across rural and urban lines by the 17th elections and will introduce an election system that will follow the two votes per one voter system, making a revolution in the electoral system for the first time in a long while. This revolution, started by the Constitutional Court on the basis of the principles of equality and direct elections, will break the wall of inner circle collusion and deserves positive praise.