Illegal election campaign activities continued to plague the run up to Wednesday’s general election. According to the National Election Commission, the number of Public Official Election Act violations stood at 1,239 on Tuesday. Although the figure was lower than during the 2008 general election, the number of more serious offences such as slander increased significantly. The election watchdog’s figures show that the number of cases of slander and spreading falsehoods increased 31 percent from four years ago. Areas with tight races between candidates such as South Gyeongsang Province saw increases in illegal campaign activities. According to the election commission for the region, 110 violations were filed as of midday Tuesday. In comparison, the figure came in at 85 in 2008. Incheon also suffered from a spike in irregular campaign activities.
As of Monday, the Incheon Election Commission had investigated 56 cases, of which 14 were reported to the law enforcement authorities. The Incheon watchdog also requested criminal investigations for six cases, while a further six cases were deferred to the police. In addition, the Incheon police agency investigated 71 people on related issues, and charged 11 people. There are, however, provinces and cities that reported a decrease in election law violations. Gangwon Province’s election commission is reported to have uncovered 45 breaches of the Public Official Election Act by Tuesday. In comparison, 60 cases were detected by the watchdog in the run up to the election in 2008.
While the overall number of election law violations was down from 2008, when about 1,450 cases were detected, the authorities say that the figure may rise as more cases emerge after the polls are closed. Although the final number of election law violations detected by the authorities this year remains to be seen, the general election for the 19th National Assembly was marked by a string of disclosures and accusations about rival candidates.