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‘Unreasonable’ Demands by Constituents

Posted May. 17, 2006 07:04,   


Many Unreasonable Proposed Campaign Demands-

With local elections approaching, all kinds of campaign demands from civic groups are inundating candidates like summer floods. The problem is that more than a few of these requests are infeasible or just plain selfish requests.

A local art organization demanded provincial governor candidates to reflect their 7-article art policy in the candidates’ policies.

These articles include “Increasing culture and arts fund by 20 billion won, construction of a compound arts and culture center, establishment of a cultural foundation, creation of a province arts performance group, increase of provincial arts and cultural budget to three percent of the province’s total budget, and the creation of creative villages and cultural parks in small cities and counties.”

Virtually all of the suggested policies are massive projects that require enormous budgets.

A provincial governor runner-up commented, “Although these are necessary measures to revive the substandard regional arts and cultural life, all require enormous funding, so it is impossible to accept all of these demands. If these policies are implemented, the budget to fund other important vows can only be drastically reduced.”

Candidates Can Only Reluctantly Accept Them-

Hence, the policy teams on governor or metropolitan mayor candidate camps are inundated with faxes and e-mails from proposals by civic groups to the point of suffocation.

On average, a candidate has at least 10 and up to as many as 30 proposals sitting on their desks. Many of the demands on the proposals are beyond the authority of local governors or only beneficial to some specific interest group.

The most common appeal type demands are requests for the construction of a “center.” The policy team chief of a province governor candidate said, “All groups ranging from women’s organization, handicapped, unemployed, to youth groups continue to make demands for a center. Although we responded that we would review it, if we grant all their demands, the budget won’t be able to handle it.”

Nevertheless, it is not easy for candidates to refuse unreasonable demands. A candidate explained, “If we just blurt something to their unreasonable demands, they will immediately hold a press conference and criticize us, so we are in a predicament.”

Some point out that although there are many civic groups engaged in a manifesto movement to check on the vows of candidates, the egoism of such groups shakes the roots of “grassroots democracy.”

Ewha Womans University political science professor Kim Soo-jin said, “If groups advocating the interests of particular people make absurd demands during the elections, it will ultimately harm other voters. The candidates and the press should actively raise questions about the absurd demands of such interest groups.”

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