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Fix all the mess (KOR)

Mar 19,2020
The ruling Democratic Party (DP) has joined hands with four unknown parties to create a weird coalition to control more proportional seats in the 300-seat National Assembly. The DP chose the four parties over a group of other splinter parties with which it had planned to establish a coalition to get more of the 47 proportional seats in the April 15 parliamentary elections. No one knows about the political activities or ideology of the parties, which were hastily established earlier this year.

The DP is preparing a list of candidates for proportional seats to send to the coalition next week to feign a united front against the main opposition United Future Party (UFP) in the upcoming election. In the process, the ruling party dumped a group of splinter parties — including the Justice Party (JP) — because of sharp disagreements over nominations for proportional seats. Later, the JP declared it will not join in the coalition led by the ruling party. What a farce it is — given the original goal of electoral reforms last year was to help minor parties enter the legislature.

After the opposition UFP created a satellite party early this year to snatch back its majority status from the ruling party, the DP denounced it for becoming a “trash party” and even filed a criminal complaint with the prosecution. The DP claims the coalition it formed is totally different from the satellite party of the UFP. That’s sheer sophistry.

Equally baffling is the opposition UFP and its satellite Future Korea Party (FKP). The two parties are now in a mud fight over who gets more of the proportional seats. Instead of offering fresh hopes for Korean politics, they only help voters become confused over the order of nominations for candidates. After the satellite party decided to allot more seats to its own candidates than to its mother party, the UFP is now threatening to set up another satellite party of its own. A black comedy is being played on the stage of Korean politics.

Such confusion was already predicted when the ruling party pressed ahead with a revision of the election law despite vehement opposition from the UFP. Under the new proportional system, voters cast their ballots for a certain political party instead of a candidate for a constituency. The revision was designed to lessen side effects of the two major rivaling parties. But if they insist on their ways, they will become even bigger. Why should we maintain such a ridiculous system?

The DP pledged to make a sacrifice to achieve the original goal of the electoral revision. If so, it must change the twisted election law. The DP must take responsibility for all the mess and fix it before it is too late.