Welcome the judgment of an acquittal of charges violating election law for campaigns against the Four-River project
- 2010.12.25 (10:18:00)
Welcome the judgment of an acquittal of charges violating election law for campaigns against the Four- River project
- The ruling indicates the National Election Commission and the Prosecution unfairly applied the election law to voters' campaigns
- Bae Okbyoung, representative of free school meal campaign, Choi Seungguk, executive commissioner of the campaign against the Four-River project, Jang Dongbin, director of Korea Federation for Environmental Movements should be judged not guilty
- The National Assembly must take the lead in amending the election law that restricts voters' participation in election campaigns
Yesterday(Dec.22), Anyang Branch of Suwon District Court renderred verdicts that two environmental activists of Anyang/Gunpo/Uiwang Korea Federation for Environmental Movements were found not guilty in charge of driving campaigns against the Four river project. The ruling indicates the National Election Commission(NEC) and the Prosecution unfairly continually applied the election law to voters' campaigns during the period of election and recognizes freedom of political expression which is guaranteed in the Constitution
The Center for National Assembly Watch of the PSPD(Head: Prof. Jo Sung-dai, International Relations of Hanshin University) welcomes the ruling of an acquittal of charges violating election law for campaigns against the Four-River project. The Center also urge the Prosecution to stop its intent to appeal and reflect on themselves. Bae Okbyoung, representative of free school meal campaign, Choi Seungguk, executive commissioner of the campaign against the Four river project, Jang Dongbin, director of Korea Federation for Environmental Movements should be judged not guilty.
Ahead of June 2 local election, the NEC forged a new word, 'so-called contentious issues,' which cannot be found in the election law. According to this, the NEC regulated debates on the two issues, the Four-River Project and free school meals(e-election information, June 24, 2010, NEC), blocking any activities by civil groups and political expression by citizens even though they were lawful.
This led to rapid cooling down in the zeal for policy competition in election. In the meanwhile, the NEC was a spectator when the government organized activities to PR the Four-River project and the Police was involved in the election of education office superintendents. In contrast, the NEC accused civic activists of launching campaigns against the Four-River Project and free school meals respectively, with the Prosecution indicting them just as if they were waiting for this to happen.
Despite repeated criticism, the NEC and the Prosecution pushed ahead with the crackdown on voters campaigns. Therefore, it is essential that the NEC and the Prosecution closely review the ruling that states freedom of expression guaranteed in the Constitution cannot be constrained for any reason including election. They must contemplate the ruling by Anyang Branch of Suwon District Court that the NEC's criteria to select the contentious issues are ambiguous and could impede policy election.
Furthermore, the National Assembly has to hastly amend the restriction-oriented current election law which restricts voters'participation in election, so that the NEC and the Prosecution's arbitrary crackdowns on citizens' political expression based on the election law can be definately prevented.