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Golden Emblem beyond the Law

Posted December. 15, 2001 13:16,   


The Supreme Court sentenced the penalty equivalent to invalidation of the election to Rep. Choi Don-Woong (Grand National Party). He is the first lawmaker among the candidates and the campaign workers, who were prosecuted for the violation of the election law.

The Supreme Court 2nd division (Judge Son Ji-Yol, a Justice of the Supreme Court) dismissed the final appeal on 14th and confirmed the original trial sentence to Mr. Choi, who was in charge of fund management of Rep. Choi, that is, 10 months` imprisonment with 2 year suspension. He was prosecuted for giving 12million won to the persons in charge of Rep. Choi`s personal organizations for campaign.

The election shall be invalidated when the elected person is fined over one million won for the violation of election law, or when the elected person`s head manager or account manager for the campaign is sentenced to imprisonment. According to the authoritative interpretation of the Central Election Control Committee, Rep. Choi resigned from his office and was re-elected in the special election in Gangneung district. It is said that he could run for the election in the case that the final decision is not made before the `dead line of registration for candidacy in the by-election, which was, October 8th.

Choi can keep his seat in the Assembly regardless of the decision on 14th, but a dispute on the legal principle is expected if a competitor or opponent party proceeds with administrative litigation on such candidacy.

And public opinion is likely to call for the reformation of the regulation of the election law, which provides the way to keep one`s status even though the person had received a guilty verdict of for the violation of the election law just by resigning and running again for the by-election.

Lee Jung-Eun lightee@donga.com