Go to contents

[Editorial] Worrisome Local Elections

Posted May. 28, 2002 08:58,   


The June 13 local elections started off its official campaigning today. However, it is true that we have more worry than expectation. What is the most worrisome is the lack of interest of the voters. Not only the elections overlap with the schedule of the World Cup games, but also the interest of people is far less than the presidential election to be held at the end of year, which causes a early concern for ominous forecast of the voters turnout rate of less than fifty percent. If that is the case, aside from the issue of the representation of the elected, the fundamentals of self-autonomous local administrations of `grass root democracy` may be in jeopardy.

Even though seven years passed since the earnest beginning of self-autonomous local government system, the biggest reason of expressing the negative view saying, `why continue these kinds of self-autonomous local administration` is because the self-autonomous local government system is turning to `centralization led by party`, rather than taking a root as establishing local citizens autonomy. The exemplar problem is the party nomination of basic level local administrative heads. The system makes the local self-autonomy a `subcontracting` of the central politics even it has a facial merit of activating party politics and citizens participation in politics. The case can be proved in this year, as the local policies have disappeared in the local elections campaign platform, but the presidential platforms of parties flood the scene.

Although it is said that candidate selection of various local administration head this year have been made with upward competition primaries, generally speaking the influence of regional party chapter`s chiefs has strongly affected the results. The disobedience of the primaries in considerable number of regions shows a symptom of the case. Under this circumstance, a considerable part of the floury of illegal activities and rampant corruption seem to be stemming from the structural causes. When the voters interest is lacking, the social surveillance system is not in place yet, and further the central party organs take the attitude of `win whatever the cost may be` thinking it as a pre-game of the presidential election, the clean and clam local elections is beyond expectation.

Above all, the electoral voters should have a master`s set of mind and keep an eye on illegal and hazy campaigning. Self-autonomous local governments with the negligent local people do not exist. The central parties should reign in overheated competition. The backbone of the self-autonomous local government may collapse when the parties are blinded with immediate award of winning. It is already reached a dangerous level.