Cronies caught bribing party officials for candidacy in local elections should be expelled from political circles, the ruling Saenuri Party suggested on Sunday.
With the June local elections approaching, the Saenuri Party proposed mending the current party-based nomination system instead of abolishing it altogether, while the opposition bloc continued to demand the Saenuri Party to repeal the system, as promised in 2012.
The opposition parties claimed that the ruling party’s move was another excuse designed to evade its presidential election campaign pledge.
Current election laws permit only registered parties to nominate candidates to local and general elections.
Two years ago, all three major presidential candidates ― including President Park Geun-hye ― had pledged to remove registered parties’ candidate nomination powers for local elections.
The ruling party’s latest proposal followed Saenuri chairman Rep. Hwang Woo-yea’s New Year speech in which he proposed “open party primaries” that allow non-party affiliates to vote for candidates. This would improve transparency and reduce corruption in party nominations to local elections, Hwang said.
Opposition lawmakers viewed Hwang’s remarks as a political ploy to deflect criticism of ignoring campaign promises.
Main opposition Democratic Party spokesperson Rep. Han Jeoung-ae called the Saenuri plan a “meaningless bill” that would do nothing to prevent corruption in party nominations.
“These are wordings to avoid the current debate about how to get rid of the party-based nomination systems in the upcoming local elections,” Han said.
Political office seekers have often taken advantage of party powers in nominating candidates to local and general elections. Most recently, former lawmaker Hyun Young-hee was removed from her parliamentary job this month after the Supreme Court found her guilty of bribing Saenuri Party officials for nomination to a National Assembly seat.
By Jeong Hunny (firstname.lastname@example.org)