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By-elections Cost $151 Mln Over 10 Years: Study

Posted October. 31, 2010 05:13,   


A combined 170 billion won (151 million U.S. dollars) since 2000 has been spent on holding by-elections due to revocation of election or resignation by winners of the general and local elections.

In comparison, an estimated 20 municipal and provincial governments have an annual budget of under 170 billion won each.

In a Dong-A Ilbo analysis of data from the National Election Commission released Friday, 21 by-elections were found to have been conducted in 554 constituencies from 2000 to the July 28 by-elections this year.

Specifically, the 554 includes 57 constituencies that elected lawmakers, four that elected provincial governors and city mayors, 73 that elected municipal and provincial government chiefs, 128 that elected city and provincial council members, and 292 that elected other council members.

These elections cost a combined 169.49 billion won (151 million dollars) in tax money. The October 27 by-elections were called “ultra mini-elections.”

Nevertheless, 2 billion won (1.7 million dollars) was spent on conducting the by-elections in six constituencies, including two that elected municipal or provincial government chiefs, one that elected a provincial council member, and three that elected lower council members.

In elections for parliamentarians alone, 32 of the 57 constituencies conducted supplementary elections due to lawmakers losing their seats due to election law violations. By-elections were held in six constituencies because the elected lost their posts due to crimes other than election violations.

Votes for electing parliamentarians were conducted at 38 constituencies, or 66.7 percent of all by-elections for electing parliamentarians, due to crimes committed by the elected.

As a result, whenever discussing revision of election laws by forming political reform special committees, ruling and opposition lawmakers have repeatedly suggested that a portion of election costs be charged to elected officials responsible for by-elections except in cases such as death.