Posted April. 22, 2005 23:27,
In relation to the upcoming April 30 elections, a ruling Uri Partys document requesting the central governments support for regional projects has been disclosed, causing serious turmoil. The document includes accounts for major issues of each six constituencies scheduled for the parliamentary by-elections, suggesting the central government offered them support.
The Uri Party is now attempting to evade the situation by claiming that the document was only reference material for working-level officials. However, considering some parts of the document are already causing influence on voters, this case should be treated significantly. The document calls for government support for Yeongcheon of north Gyeongsang Province by designating it as a corporate city of advanced industry, and building an industrial complex and a racetrack there. Now, its voters already believe that the ruling party intends to offer their region everything.
Under such circumstances, criticism and suspicion that the Uri Party intends to wield governmental power in the elections makes sense. When the ruling party requests the central government, which must remain neutral, to help a particular party or candidate win an election, the party would be able to exercise governmental power in the elections.
The same can be applied to a series of seemingly generous campaign promises, such as the relocation of Seoul Airport and the innovative city project, which will cost the government a large amount. As a result, the burden of the huge budget will fall on the shoulders of taxpayers, all for the sake of a particular party. While the ruling party makes a good impression with campaign pledges and leads the elections to go its way, it will be the taxpayers who will eventually have to bear the burden of the impression.
The ruling party already seems to be struggling desperately to obtain a majority of seats. The party does not hesitate to take members from the Grand National Party (GNP) and the United Liberal Democrats (ULD), and the party leaders are staying in their constituencies to direct the elections. All these efforts are in part responsible for the campaign now becoming overheated.
After the 17th National Assembly started, five out of six lawmakers who lost their positions for violating the election law are the members of the ruling party, and the upcoming April 30 by-elections are intended to fill in their seats. However, if the ruling party shows no regret and instead attempts to influence the elections using governmental power, any political and election reforms will end up as mere political rhetoric. Such an election would be nothing more than a sample of antiquated political traditions and therefore must be cleared,
The ruling party must avoid the temptation of influencing elections with government authority now. The government and the election commission must remain neutral and do their best to make the election a just and fair one. No specters of antiquated political traditions should be allowed to influence the April 30 by-elections, which would be unnecessary if there were no vacant seats marred by illegal and unlawful activities.