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Election law violations decrease

The number of election-related offenses in the run-up to the Dec. 19 presidential polls fell considerably from five years ago, law enforcement agencies said Thursday.

Park Geun-hye, the daughter of former President Park Chung-hee, defeated liberal opposition candidate Moon Jae-in to become the country’s first woman president. The country’s election law stipulates 22 days of official campaigning, which ended midnight Tuesday.

According to the data compiled by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, the number of offenders caught for charges related to irregular election campaign activities came to 287 as of Wednesday, down by 62.5 percent from 824 caught for the previous poll held five years ago.

A South Korean president serves a single, five-year term by law, and cannot seek re-election.

Of the violators, 31 have been indicted, and 14 others exempted, with 242 others being under a prosecution probe, according to the SPO.

Some 28.2 percent, or 81 people, were caught for negative campaigning, followed by wielding violence with 16.4 percent, bribery with 14.6 percent and illegal propaganda with 6.6 percent, according to the SPO data.

“Different from the previous election when candidates tended to delve into negative onslaughts against each other, suspicions surrounding major contenders do not appear to have been an eye-catching issue this time,” said an SPO official, explaining reasons for the decline in the election violations. (Yonhap News)