The Democratic Party of Korea has begun the process to integrate with its proportional party, the Together Citizens' Party, until May 15. Although the United Future Party has not decided the exact timing, it too will discuss integration with its proportional party, the Future Korea Party, once the leadership of the integrated party is established. The proportional parties of the two dominant parties in the National Assembly, which were created hurriedly before the April 15 general elections, have begun to be absorbed into their parent parties.
As the two dominant parties launched proportional parties for general elections, the revised Public Official Election Act based on the proportional representation of linkage system has become practically useless. The purpose of the election act passed forcefully by the “4+1” consultative body across the ruling side without the main opposition party was to increase the number of seats for minor parties representing a variety of voices to reduce the adverse effect of the two-party system. However, both ruling and opposition parties tricked the system by competitively creating proportional parties. The election result shows that the election bill revision has only caused reverse effect as major parties now have more seats while fewer seats are given to minor parties.
As major parties were only allowed to field constituency candidates, not proportional candidates, they were unable to participate in TV debates to publicize parties’ policies. It is because of the National Election Commission’s authoritative interpretation that major parties that could not field proportional candidates according to the election law are not allowed to promote parties. Given the circumstances, a party forced all constituency candidates to include the messages of a central party in internet advertisements. Due to the tarnished election bill, the general elections became the “don’t ask election,” rather than an election based on the comparison of policies.
If the two dominant parties in the National Assembly share the problems of the election bill, the bill should be revised before the integration with proportional parties. In particular, as the election law sets the rules of the game, the previous negotiation process excluding the main opposition party should not be repeated. Those in the ruling party who say that the election bill can be passed without the involvement of the opposition party once integrated with its proportional party to secure three-fifths of all seats must have forgotten the principle of election bill negotiation, whose prerequisite is an agreement between the ruling and the opposition parties. The additional revision of the election bill should be the first step towards an apology for the public who are utterly disappointed with the politics’ cheap tricks.