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Electorate System Exclusive for Women Was Temporarily Agreed, But…

Electorate System Exclusive for Women Was Temporarily Agreed, But…

Posted February. 16, 2004 22:28,   


The special committee of reforming politics in the National Assembly (the head, Lee Jae-o) opened a meeting of four parties’ managers on February 16 and made a provisional agreement on introducing an electorate system exclusively for women and temporarily executing it.

However, an adverse criticism is expanding over whether the exclusive system infringes upon the constitution, and it is expected that conflicts are expected to occur when passing the Legislation and Judiciary Committee and Plenary Session of National Assembly.

In the meeting, the managers of the four parties collectively recognized introducing an electorate system only for women in order to revise the low participation rate of women in politics, and they decided to let only women run for an election in 26 divided regions and elect 26 women members of the National Assembly.

For purposes of dividing into regions, the managers regarded Seoul and Kyoungki as five regions, Busan and Kyoungnam as two regions, and the remaining 12 cities and provinces as one region each.

Consequently the number of members in the National Assembly, which was determined to be fixed to 273, is likely to increase to 299.

The electorate system exclusive for women in which only women can run for a particular election district hasn’t progressed due to ruling opinions which states it violates the constitutional spirit of banning sexual discrimination.

But as the general election is coming up, each party announced “assigning women to 50 percent proportional representation” and “nominating women candidates as 30 percent of local electorates” as election pledges in order to gain the female vote and has recently started to introduce the system competitively.

However, there are many politicians, even among women, who have raised questions on the effectiveness of the system.

A woman candidate of Uri Party who is preparing for the April general election said, “The new creation of districts only for women may deprive opportunities for women who are running fairly for election in existing districts,” and added, “This trend will decrease the real capacity of women to enter politics.”

The special committee of reforming politics will open the entire meeting on February 17 or 18 and make final decisions on whether or not to introduce the system.

Sung-Won Park swpark@donga.com