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Broken Campaign Promises

Posted June. 30, 2007 04:14,   


Back last May, when then-candidate Jeong Woo-taek ran for the governorship of Chungcheongbuk-do, or N. Chungcheong Province, he submitted a statement to the Dong-A Ilbo and the Korea Legislative Studies Institute for evaluation on his campaign promise to increase the population of the province by absorbing residents in the neighboring province displaced by a construction project for a new national administrative capital in the Daejeon area.

In other words, once elected governor, he promised to entice into his province residents of S. Chungcheong Province, who would have to move out of their homes due to the taking of land for the new capital project.

The evaluation team of the Dong-A gave a low grade of 50 points to his promise due to its vagueness and impracticality. One year has passed since the election, and Dong-A tracked the status of the campaign promises of the 16 winning candidates.

Once Elected, Promises Gone-

The results were dismaying. Governor Jeong, for example, excluded the population-increasing initiative from his final implementation plans.

A senior official of the province explained, “The central government changed their plans and made it possible for residents to choose where they want to live. It’s impossible for us to move them out of their hometown areas.”

But the Jeong case is not an exception; rather, it represents the mainstream.

Gyeonggi Governor Kim Moon-soo pledged to install trash bag vending machines in the province. Under his plan, a private firm would have installed the machines in parks and run them for profit.

Governor Kim, however, went back on his word. A machine cost 5 million won, a price much higher than expected. And the 20-liter trash bag price was about a quarter. Thus, it was impossible to generate any profits from the business.

295 Promises Not Fulfilled -

Jeollabuk-do Governor Kim Wan-joo gave his word on a project to build a 44km maglev train rail covering the distance from Iksan to the reclaimed Saemangeum area. “We, however, have no scheme to execute the plan now. It will be pursued again some time after 2012,” explains the provincial government. By the year of 2012, however, Kim’s term is over.

The Dong-A requested each of the 16 winners in the 2006 May elections to submit a confirmation statement on the implementation status of their campaign promises.

Out of the total of 1,657 promises, only 166 projects have been completed within a year. Budget money has been allotted for only 1,362. Thus, 259 are still in limbo, waiting for action.