A Seoul court sentenced a former spy agency chief to four years in prison Wednesday, finding him guilty of meddling in the 2012 presidential election through a covert cyber operation. The Seoul High Court handed down the verdict to Won Sei-hoon, who headed the National Intelligence Agency (NIS) from 2009 to 2013, more than two years after the top court sent the case back to the lower court for retrial, citing insufficient evidence. Won was put behind bars immediately after the ruling. He was on trial without detention.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Korea.
South Korea’s new president Moon Jae-in pledged to unify the nation after nine years of conservative rule that culminated in the country’s biggest street protests since the 1980s and the impeachment of his predecessor. “This is really a victory for the people who did their utmost to make a country for justice, unity, principles and common sense,” Moon told supporters in Seoul. “I’ll become the president for everyone. A president who serves even those who didn’t support me.” The final tally showed Moon received 41.08 percent of votes, while conservative Hong Joon-pyo got 24.03 percent. Centrist Ahn Cheol-soo came third with 21.41 percent.
South Koreans are taking Tuesday’s presidential election seriously. Estimates suggest that the voter turnout is likely to be as high as over 90 percent. Over 11 million people – or more than 26 percent of the nation’s 42.5 million registered voters – have already cast their ballots in early voting, according to local media. This year is the first time early voting has been available in a presidential election. South Koreans are voting for a replacement for former President Park Geun-hye, who was recently ousted from office on account of a high-profile corruption scandal. Park was subsequently charged with bribery, coercion, abuse of power and leaking state secrets.
South Korea: Voters swamp ballot booths as early voting in presidential election kicks off | The Straits Times
Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans flocked to polling stations across the nation on Thursday (May 4) to choose their next president, two months after the previous one was ousted from office in disgrace and amid regional tension over a belligerent North Korea. Instead of voting on the scheduled election day of Tuesday (May 9), many chose to cast ballots earlier as they have to work or have other plans, such as a trip to vacation hot spots. Some 3,500 polling stations are open across the nation from 6am to 6pm from Thursday to Friday.
A record number of overseas South Koreans have cast ballots in early overseas voting for the country’s upcoming presidential election, the election watchdog said Monday. A total of 221,981 overseas voters cast ballots over a six-day voting period that ended Sunday, according to the National Election Commission. There are about 1.97 million South Korean nationals who are staying overseas and are eligible to take part in the presidential election slated to be held next Tuesday.
Ahead of the next month’s presidential election, Korean voters are deluged with fake news on major social media platforms, and the national election watchdog has so far cracked down on more than 30,000 cases of disinformation. The JoongAng Ilbo obtained a report on Wednesday from the National Election Commission’s Electoral Cyber Crime Center regarding its crackdowns on illegal internet postings concerning the 19th presidential election on May 9. The commission so far detected 31,004 fake news postings as of Tuesday. It is already 4.3 times higher than the total number of fake news stories shut down during the 2012 presidential election. Of the 31,004 postings, 20,104 contained fake news and false information, while 9,327 were announcements of illegal surveys. Another 762 contained slander against candidates and 375 were postings containing insults toward specific regions. The National Election Commission deleted the postings after its crackdowns.
In a historic, unanimous ruling Friday, South Korea’s constitutional Court formally removed impeached President Park Geun-hye from office over a corruption scandal that has plunged the country into political turmoil, worsened an already-serious national divide and prompted calls for sweeping reforms. It was a stunning fall for Park, the country’s first female leader and the daughter of a dictator who rode a lingering conservative nostalgia for her father to victory in 2012, only to see her presidency descend into scandal. The ruling by the eight-member panel opens her up to possible criminal proceedings, and makes her South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be removed from office since democracy came in the country in the late 1980s.
The political scandal that led to the suspension of President Park Gyun-hye is boosting political engagement among younger South Koreans, who are calling for voting rights. Many high school students throughout the country are politically energized these days, and they want more of a say. “We want to elect the country’s leader ourselves in order to create a better society for us all,” says a student at one protest. The corruption scandal involving the president and her long-time friend Choi Soon-sil has kept Boo Seok-woo busy with a youth group that’s engaged in social issues.
The voting age is likely to be lowered to 18 for the 2017 presidential election. The New Conservative Party for Reform (NCPR), created by lawmakers who left the Saenuri Party, said Wednesday that it will seek to lower the voting age from 19 to 18 and apply it to the next election. With all three opposition parties supporting an increase in the number of eligible voters, there is a high possibility that the Election Law could be revised during an extraordinary session of the National Assembly in January. If revised, those who are 18, currently high school students, will be able to vote in the presidential election, which could take place earlier than scheduled.
“We shall lower the voting age to 18 before the next presidential election. Among OECD member states, Korea is the only nation stipulating voting rights at 19,” floor leader Rep. Woo Sang-ho said in a party meeting. The liberal party, the largest in South Korea’s unicameral parliament controlling 128 of the 300 seats, will push to revise the election law to lower the age limit and grant voting rights to compatriots living overseas, he said. Currently, 33 member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development grant suffrage to those 18 years and older, with Austria at the age of 16.