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Simulation shows party-list system won`t work with current Assembly seats

Simulation shows party-list system won`t work with current Assembly seats

Posted August. 20, 2015 07:17,   


The proposed introduction of a regional proportional representation system will unlikely help address the regional imbalances in parliamentary seats unless the number of lawmakers elected directly through popular votes is reduced significantly in return for an increase in proportional representation.

This finding is according to the result of a simulation conducted Wednesday by the Dong-A Ilbo, which applied to the 300 parliamentary seats (246 district constituencies and 54 proportional representatives) political parties` regional turn-out rates of the 2008 and 2012 parliamentary elections and demographics as of January this year.

○ Reduction of vested interest necessary to address regional imbalances

On Tuesday, the National Assembly`s special committee on political reform agreed to keep the number of National Assembly lawmakers unchanged at 300 but failed to determine the numbers of parliamentary seats directly elected from districts and from party lists for proportional representation, leaving the task to a redistricting committee. However, many politicians project that the number of directly elected seats will likely be increased by about 10. If the current number of National Assembly seats is maintained, there will likely be less proportional representation seats.

Regarding this issue, the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) calls for keeping the number of proportional representation seats unchanged at 54 and adopt a regional proportional representation system in order to address the chronic regionalism in elections.

Even if the new system is introduced, however, the numbers of parliamentary seats to be won by the two rival political parties in the Gyeongsang and Jeolla provinces are unlikely to change. According to the simulation result, the ruling Saenuri Party would win just one seat from six allocated in the Jeolla provinces, while the NPAD would grab the same number of seat from 13 available in the Gyeongsang provinces in the 2008 general elections. In the 2012 parliamentary elections, the ruling party would also win one seat in the Jeolla region, and the NPAD three in the Gyeongsang provinces, according to the simulation result.

"If directly elected lawmakers do not give up their vested interest first, as suggested by the National Election Commission (200 directly elected seats and 100 proportional representation seats), the proposed introduction of regional proportional representation system would be meaningless," said Lee Chul-hee, director of the Dumun Institute for Political Strategy. "If the opposition parties want to address regional imbalances in representation, they should start discussing reducing the number of directly elected lawmakers."

○ Will Jung-gu, Seoul integrated with another ward?

The political reform committee is projected to draw up ways to maintain the current election law that prohibits include a part of an autonomous ward, country or city into another electoral district but make a clause allowing exceptions for "unavoidable" situations.

Seoul`s Jung-gu ward is considered a typical case, as it is below the 2 to 1 population deviation of constituencies set by the Constitutional Court and thus has to redraw its electoral district boundaries. If Jung-gu is integrated with a neighboring ward, however, the combined constituency will exceed the upper limit of population deviation. Therefore, Jung-gu and another ward have to be integrated and then split into different electoral districts. For example, if Jung-gu and Jongno-gu are integrated, the combined area should be divided into two electoral districts, with a part of Jongno-gu being incorporated into a Jung-gu electoral district. In addition, the reform panel plans to newly establish clauses on "living cultural sphere" as a redistricting standard.