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[Editorial] Elimination of Money-Fueled Elections Is A Prior Subject

[Editorial] Elimination of Money-Fueled Elections Is A Prior Subject

Posted December. 25, 2003 23:02,   


The parliamentary committee for political reform meeting held today should not be the scene of another quarrel between the pro-government Uri Party and the three opposition groups. The people are disgusted with petty arguments over the number of lawmakers in the assembly, while political reform and the elimination of bought elections are put aside.

First, an increase in the number of members runs counter to popular sentiment. Why the hell do we increase the number of lawmakers from the local constituencies by 16 seats even as they lose political support? Certainly there needs to be a constituency adjustment due to the Constitutional Court’s decision on the unconstitutionality of population declination, but this is possible without increasing the number of lawmakers. Moreover, it is inevitable this will be blamed on an illicit partnership since they are using population numbers from the end of March to support some leading lawmakers of the opposition.

The first thing that needs to be done is to consolidate the political funding system in order to prevent corrupt money. This is the lesson from the presidential election fund scandal. However, a multitude of proposals from the three opposition groups, the Grand National Party, the Millennium Democratic Party and the United Liberal Democrats, are all far away from this.

For instance, not accepting the proposal of the Pan-National Committee for Political Reform, submitting all receipts for supporting funds to the Election Administration Committee, and reinforcing the system for preventing money laundering is the same as opening the way for unlawful deals. The normal prohibition of politicians’ offers for marriage and funeral services as well as offers for food and transportation conveniences at party gatherings implies the continuation of money-fueled elections. It is disappointing to see that they created the Pan-National Committee for Political Reform for this limited purpose.

It is not too late. If there is a political will, there can be new reform measures. It is right to pursue maximum reform since the Pan-National Committee for Political Reform and the Election Administration Committee already dealt with the details of constitutional provisions.

It is the way of the world that when self-control does not perform its function, another order operates. If the National Assembly passes the proposal agreed on by the three opposition parties, which has been criticized as politically regressive, people will not stand for it. Civic groups are already planning to vote against lawmakers who led this regressive political reform.