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[Editorial] What Does the People’s Participation 0415 Intend to Do?

[Editorial] What Does the People’s Participation 0415 Intend to Do?

Posted January. 26, 2004 23:26,   


Pro-president groups have formed The People’s Participation 0415 and started a variety of activities. It is said that the new organization would concentrate its activities on 50-60 candidates in the Seoul metropolitan area, Busan, and the south Gyeongsan province. It is also said that a full-scale mobilization has been ordered under the slogan of the 100,000-strong army.

Their activities exceed the limit of other civil-society groups’ campaigns to support or unseat some candidates. Of course, efforts to upgrade the quality and quantity of the people’s political participation are not to be blamed. It is right for any democratic citizen to participate in politics as a way to express his or her own political opinion.

However, concerns have been raised as to whether or not the 0415’s activities are irregularities. As the candidates whom they want to support are all Uri Party candidates, it will intensify the dispute over President Roh Moo-hyun’s intervention in the elections. The 0415 appears to be the answer to Roh’s appeals for a continued civil revolution in his speech at Remember 1219, a rally organized by his supporters to mark the first anniversary of Roh’s electoral victory. If the organization was premeditated as a result of a tacit consensus with the president, this is a clear case of illicit electoral campaign.

What worries us more is that the conflict between these organizations and more conservative groups may mar the elections. Will the other force just sit by when one force bluntly takes sides with a particular party? Which side will the president be on then?

Populism is not right at any cost. Encouraging voters to judge for themselves as they wish is the first step in the fair election. If the president is at the center of the controversy over electoral intervention, a fair election is simply impossible.