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Acting President Goh Emphasizes Neutrality in Elections

Posted March. 15, 2004 22:24,   


Acting President Goh Kun instructed the Cabinet on Monday to act discreetly and not to make new policies misunderstood as favors ahead of the elections, strictly regulate illegal campaigning activities regardless of political affiliation or status, and make sure government employees keep neutral positions.

“The past government did not use the term ‘neutrality’ in the 15th and 16th parliamentary elections, but this time, the government has instructed each provincial and local government to maintain political neutrality in the upcoming elections,” said Goh on Monday morning in an election-related ministers’ meeting held at the Central Government Complex. Goh also introduced “three principles for impartial management of the elections,” in the meeting.

In addition, Justice Minister Kang Kum-sil and Government Administration and Home Affairs Minister Huh Sung-kwan made a joint statement after attending the meeting. The statement says that the April general elections will not be delayed unless a natural disaster occurs, and that April 15, 2004, the election date, will be made a public holiday in a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The government also decided in the meeting that it will control illegal advance campaigning, including gatherings disguised as rallies to support or protest the impeachment bill because the existing fierce confrontation between ruling and opposition parties is likely to disrupt the atmosphere for fair elections.

“The Ministry of Justice will do its best to make sure those who offer or receive unlawful campaigning funds are thoroughly investigated by allowing issuance of seizure and search warrants and tracking accounts. All voters will be indicted regardless of the amount of money they have received and, in principle, those who have received over 300,000 won will be arrested except in special circumstances,” Kang said.

In the meantime, Goh instructed the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs to make sure all the polling places are located on the ground floor in order to minimize the inconvenience to the handicapped, even if it requires extra expenditures.

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com