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Pro-Roh Faction`s Attempts to Intervene in Parliamentary Elections?

Pro-Roh Faction`s Attempts to Intervene in Parliamentary Elections?

Posted July. 01, 2003 21:37,   


People`s Power, a group consisting of Internet users, most of whom are also members of Nosamo, which is a group supporting President Roh Moo-hyun, is waging a campaign to understand well lawmakers, in which the group sends questionnaires to lawmakers to ask their past careers. However, the political world is opposed to the campaign.

It is said that the campaign is part of the pro-Roh faction`s attempts to intervene in parliamentary elections.

In a statement on Tuesday, opposition Grand National Party (GNP) spokesman Song Tae-young contended that the campaign seemed to be intended to "weed out" politicians they don`t like by their own narrow standards. He also suspected that the campaign is attempts to change the present political landscape at the mercy of the president, given that People`s Power consists of Nosamo members, including entertainers such as Moon Sung-geun and Myung Gye-nam.

Rep. Lee Yoon-soo, who received the questionnaire in the first phase of the campaign, did not reply to it, feeling unpleasant. Rep. Hong Jun-pyo, though insisting that the campaign is to find fault with those attacking the Roh government, replied to the questionnaire. There is talk that it violates the election law.

A close aide to Chyung Dai-chul, chairman of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP), said, "It is desirable for voters to participate in politics. However, there is a possibility that the campaign could be illegal like the blacklisting campaign in 2000 parliamentary elections."

The National Election Commission pointed out that as of now, the campaign itself is not illegal but it added that if the group wages street campaigns or collect signatures, it is against the election law. According to the commission, the group should launch a rejection campaign following the formats decided by the election law.

After holding a news conference on June 30, People`s Power sent questionnaires to eight lawmakers in the first stage of the campaign. The questionnaire includes 10 questions. The eight lawmakers are MDP chairman Chyung Dai-chul, GNP chairman Choe Byung-yul, United Liberal Democrats chairman Lee In-je, GNP lawmakers Chung Hyung-keun, Kim Yong-kap, and Hong Jun-pyo, and MDP lawmakers Park Sang-cheon and Lee Yoon-soo.

The group plans to continue to send questionnaires to politicians until October and disclose their replies. At the end of this year, it will decide its own candidates and ask for support for them.

Jeong Chung-rae, co-chairman of the group says that the campaign is less of a rejection campaign, but more of a civic movement to back up qualified candidates. Jeong Dae-hwa, professor of Sangji University, and actors Myung Gye-nam and Moon Sung –geun showed their willingness to join the campaign.

Min-Hyuk Park Sun-Woo Kim mhpark@donga.com