Posted September. 18, 2009 08:39,
The majority of Koreans support reform of the proportional representation system by region as suggested by the ruling party.
To make the system more effective, experts say the number of proportional representative seats should be increased, but many people oppose this.
The Youido Institute under the ruling Grand National Party announced yesterday the results of a nationwide survey at a debate over the nations election system. The institute polled 2,509 people aged 20 or over Sept. 9.
○ Experts favor more proportional representative seats
Most election experts supported the proportional representation system by region with 44.3 percent backing the system and 27.3 percent opposed.
Soongsil University political science professor Kang Won-taek, Citizens Coalition for Economic Justice policy manager Goh Gye-hyeon, and National Election Commission manager Kim Yong-hee attended the discussion. They agreed that the number of proportional representative seats should be raised on the condition that the new system is introduced.
In the nationwide survey on the people, however, 69.3 percent said the number of proportional representative seats should be reduced while 21.1 percent said it should be increased. It will be hard to increase the number of proportional representative seats by cutting constituency seats or increasing the number of overall seats, Kim said.
○ Heated debate over medium or major constituency system
Academics and citizens reached a consensus that the medium or major constituency system should not be introduced, Kang said.
Goh added, If the medium or major constituency system is introduced, it will invite several problems such as too many political parties, sectarian politics, and surging expenses for election campaigns. Accordingly, the single-member constituency system should be maintained.
In the survey, 50.8 percent backed the single-member constituency system while 40 percent favored the medium or major constituency system.
Ruling Grand National Party lawmaker Kwon Young-jin said, however, To transform the existing system without increasing the number of legislators, the medium constituency system should be introduced.
He suggested raising the number of proportional representative seats from 54 to 100 while reducing the number of constituency seats from 245 to 199. As a compromise, he proposed implementing the medium constituency system in cities and maintaining the smaller system in rural areas.
Over the ruling partys suggestion to allow candidates for constituency seats to run for proportional ones, Kang said, This particular system is used only in Japan. From a short-term perspective, the system can be positively considered as an efficient way to beat regionalism.