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“Double-Vote” System the Only Way Out?

Posted March. 22, 2004 22:45,   


“Make full use of the two ballots given per person to screen out the headwind of impeachment.”

As public support for the Uri Party skyrocketed up to 50 percent mark after the approval of the impeachment, the opposition parties are seeking a way out through a “double-vote” system that allows the voters to vote for a candidate and a party of their choice separately.

The opposition is searching for a detailed strategy to minimize the impact of the headwind of the impeachment by having the partisan vote to be used to reflect the opinions for or against the impeachment. That will leave the regional election to strictly be a showdown between individual candidates.

A core party executive of the Grand National Party (GNP) said, “Currently, the support for the new figures of the Uri Party, which has only a 10 percent recognition rate, surpasses that of the well-qualified congressmen of the opposition party that are now in service, reaching 40-50 percent. This only shows people’s lack of understanding about the purpose of the two-vote system.”

The Constitutional Court of Korea ruled the “single-vote” system, which gives proportional-representative seats on the basis of the regional votes, unconstitutional. The GNP member mentioned above emphasized that such decision was made to guarantee “freedom of choice” for the voters who wish to choose a particular candidate that does not belong to the party of their choice.

The voter may oppose impeachment, but support an opposition candidate. Another voter may agree with the impeachment while supporting an Uri Party member. In the “double-vote” system, the voters can reflect both of their contrasting choices. Such complexity of a voter’s choice was also confirmed in various opinion polls.

According to the KBS-Media Research survey done on March 19, the support for the Uri Party’s candidate, Song Mi-hwa, surpassed that of candidate Lee Jae-oh of the GNP by 42.2 percent to 28.4 percent, respectively. However, the rating for “suitability” to take a seat in the assembly showed contrasting reports, with candidate Lee taking 34.8 percent over candidate Song with 17.3 percent.

The same result was shown in surveys done in other regions including candidate Chu Mi-ae of the Millennium Democratic Party in Kwangjin-Gu.

When two-ballots were given to each voter for the first time in the local election of 2002, the individual candidates from the GNP and the party swept the majority of the vote. With such precedence, we cannot rule out the possibility of deja vu. It seems that the Uri Party is counting on re-enacting history in putting forth much effort in the “defense of the number three” by as going far as reversing their promise of resignation from the Assembly on March 22.

Hyong-gwon Pu Myoung-Gun Lee bookum90@donga.com gun43@donga.com