PSPD in English Civil-Political 2000-07-31   1809

The CAGE Newsletter 5 : Triumph of Civil Power

The CAGE Newsletter 5 : Triumph of Civil Power

The general election in Korea has proved a great victory for the civil activities organized by the CAGE. On the 3rd of March, the CAGE released the last list of politicians to be sent off in the election. The list of 86 candidates included very influential politicians both in the majority and oppositional parties. However, the civil power made their influence in Korean politics powerless. Even though the turnout in this general election was the lowest recorded, which means that a lot of the young voters very supportive to the CAGEs activities did not turn out, the result of the election proved to be very successful. Even the staff of the CAGE did not expect such a great success.

59 candidates out of 86 in the list failed to take office. On average, 68.6 percent of the listed candidates was kicked out by the CAGE in this election. However, it might well be explained more specifically. There are two regions in Korea where the regional sentiments in political behavior are too strong: the south-east and the south-west. Therefore, the result of the general election should be explained by region; the Seoul area, the central area, and the two southern regions. In the Seoul area, where the voters are free from any regional sentiments, 19 out of the 20 listed candidates failed to be elected, a 95.5 per cent success for the CAGE. In the central region, 18 among the 23 listed politicians failed. In the south-east region, however, only 16 out of 35 failed to be elected, while 6 out of 8 failed in the south-west.

This clearly illuminates that the general voters who are free from regional sentiments in political behavior agreed with the political reform program presented by the CAGE through the elections. They voted in favor of the campaigns organized by the CAGE. It is unanimously estimated that this is a new beginning for political reform, achieved by the civil groups” power in Korea. Not a few political commentators in this country agree that civil power has come to be more influential both on the general citizens and on the political parties because of the activities of the CAGE during the last three and half months.

Announcement of Gratitude

( The CAGE released a statement of gratitude to the general public just after the result of the general election became known on the 14th of April. Below is a summary of the statement)

Concluding the Long March of Political Reform with the Electorate

First of all, we would like to express our gratitude for your consistent support to the CAGE”s activities, which resulted in the great success of civil power in the general elections. We are very happy that we can conclude the whole program with a great success because of your support.

However, it should also be pointed out that we, the CAGE and the electorate, failed to overcome the regional sentiments in politics which have been an obstacle to political reform in this country. We failed to lift off this barrier this time again, even though we strongly appealed to the electorate not to be influenced by regional sentiments, for the sake of the development of democracy. We succeeded to a great extent, however, in getting rid of corrupt politicians in most regions. This triumphant result is due to the strong will for political reform of the general public. We would like to interpret this success to mean that from now on the general public in this country will refuse to take a passive role in politics, and have decided to play a more active role, intervening in corrupt politics from now on. At last we have recovered the political rights of civilians which had been taken away for some decades.

Frankly speaking, many hard and painstaking tasks were required to set up the CAGE and to organize all possible means of activism. We are well aware that the campaigns of the CAGE is a civil judgement on corrupt politics and politicians, but it was difficult for us to make the list of individual politicians. We can say with confidence that we never made the list from personal prejudices or sentiments against the listed politicians. This, we think, was proved by the result of the election.

We would like to express our sorrow for the young voters. The turnout in this election was the lowest in the political history of Korea. In particular, the young voters turnout was much lower than average. We strongly ask our young citizens to be interested in the democratic reform of politics, and to be involved in the activities for the political development of this country. We ask you to bear in mind that the future of democracy in Korea depends totally on you, not on other generations. Please reject political cynicism, and join the participatory forum for political reform!

We did our best to make proper criteria for selecting politicians on the list. These include corruption, an anti-human rights career, promotion of regional sentiments, parliamentary activities, and so on. All of these were accepted as being very reasonable by the general public. However some politicians refused to accept them. The result of the general election clearly showed that we were right, and they were wrong. We would like to ask those who were elected to represent the peoples opinion by pursuing political reform in the parliament.

The success of the CAGE was possible not only by the public support but also by the participation of around 800 civic groups. Civil organizations have experimented with solidarity through the CAGE during this election. We are sure that these experiences will be a solid base for social reform in Korea in the future.

A new horizon for the period of political reform has just been opened up by the CAGE. Without political reform, what kind of reform would be possible in our society? We would like to express our gratitude to the electorate for their strong support from the bottom of our hearts.

14th, March, 2000

The Civil Action for the 2000 General Election in Korea


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