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Ruling Party Urges Suffrage for Koreans Living Abroad

Posted August. 26, 2008 08:13,   


The ruling Grand National Party yesterday said it will revise laws to allow all Korean nationals residing overseas to vote in all domestic elections.

“The Constitutional Court ruled last year that restricting overseas Koreans’ voting rights is unconstitutional. Therefore, we will revise the Public Official Election Act, National Referendum Act and Residents’ Voting Act in this parliamentary session to allow all expatriates to vote in all elections, including referendums, the presidential election, and general and local elections,” said party policy coordinator Chang Yoon-seok.

According to the National Election Commission, about three million Korean nationals live overseas, including permanent and non-permanent residents. That number would have accounted for eight percent of Korea`s eligible voters in the general elections in April. Moreover, the number of such voters would have also been enough to affect the result of the 2002 presidential election.

“Though some are demanding raising election participation of overseas Koreans in (two) steps by separating non-permanent residents overseas from permanent residents, I believe we should give them the right to vote all at once,” Chang said.

“We are planning to decide details of the official party line after holding a debate in early September.”

Other party members will submit a revised law this week to help more Koreans residing overseas vote in domestic elections. The election commission, which has run a preparatory committee for overseas Koreans’ suffrage since May, will also submit its opinions on the revision of the three laws to the National Assembly.