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Fine Regulation for Unseating Lawmakers Eased

Posted February. 05, 2010 08:11,   


The National Assembly yesterday raised the fine limit for which a lawmaker automatically loses his or her parliamentary seat due to the violation of the political fund control law from one million won (867.3 dollars) to three million won (2,601 dollars).

A parliamentary committee on political reform stopped discussing this measure last year in the wake of public complaints. Both the ruling and opposition parties, however, agreed to raise the fine limit and finalize the measure by having leaders of both sides review it.

A committee source said, “The fine standard of one million won (867.3 dollars) is a decade old and fails to reflect reality. We raised the standard because many believe it is excessive to invalidate a lawmaker’s election just because money was put in a fundraising bank account late.”

Committee members, however, failed to agree on electoral districts for council members of lower level governments and will have ruling and opposition party leaders decide the matter.

The main opposition Democratic Party insists on retaining multi-member districts that elect two to four council members per electoral district. The ruling Grand National Party wants single-member districts that elect one member per district.

Since many ruling party members prefer multi-member districts, however, the existing electoral system will probably be maintained.

The committee also required each electoral district to include at least one female candidate for council members of lower and upper level governments from the June local elections. If this rule is violated, a district’s candidate registration will be nullified.

Given criticism that the penalty is excessive, the committee decided not to apply the regulation unless more than half of candidates are party-nominated. For example, if a party nominates four candidates in a district with 10 council members in lower and upper level governments, no female candidate is required.

The number of seats for council members of upper level government will be raised by 26, while that of seats for those in lower level government will stay the same.

The Democratic Party also rejected a ruling party proposal to adopt a vote on a vessel for deep-sea sailors.