South Korean voters went to the polls Wednesday to elect to representatives to the National Assembly. President Park Geun-hye’s ruling conservative Saenuri Party is expected to maintain a majority in the unicameral parliament. Recent polls have shown strong public support for Park’s tough policies to respond to the growing North Korean nuclear threat, including cutting the last cooperative inter-Korean tie by closing the jointly run Kaesong Industrial Project following the Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test in January, imposing increased sanctions, and increasing military readiness to respond to any provocations.Full Article: South Korean Election Could Reinforce Status Quo.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Korea.
One of the many weird, yet unavoidable things in Korean politics is that many people with dubious pasts and low ethical standards are allowed to seek elected office. One need look no further than the candidates for the April 13 parliamentary election, in which 1,102 candidates are running — 944 for 253 constituency seats and 158 for 47 seats allotted for proportional representation. Of the total, 38 per cent have at least one count of criminal record. This ratio goes up to 41 per cent for those who are contesting constituency seats. The ratio is almost twice as high as that for the current 19th National Assembly, which attests to the fact that the qualification bar for parliamentary candidates has been lowered.Full Article: League of ex-convicts in Seoul politics: The Korea Herald, East Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times.
Rival parties are entering campaign mode for the April 13 general election, launching planning committees following the wrap-up of candidate nominations marred by factional feuds. With just 17 days before the polls, each party has set lofty goals in the parliamentary race. The ruling Saenuri Party aims at securing a majority of seats in the 300 unicameral Assembly, while the Minjoo Party of Korea (MPK) is seeking to win 130 seats. The minor opposition People’s Party is expecting 20 seats to form a negotiation body. However, political pundits say that they all face major hurdles in the race, with a number of variables rendering the election highly unpredictable, including a possible alliance of opposition forces. How independent candidates who quit the ruling party after its nomination conflicts will affect voter sentiment also remains a key variable.Full Article: Parties gear up for April 13 election.
Candidates for the April 13 general election began registering with the National Election Commission (NEC), Thursday. Held every four years, the upcoming election will be the first since the National Assembly agreed new constituency boundaries, in line with a Constitutional Court ruling in 2014. A total of 300 lawmakers, including 253 voted in through direct ballots held in their respective constituencies, will gain seats for the next Assembly session. The remaining 47 proportional representation seats will be allocated to parties relative to the overall number of votes they receive. Each candidate will be given an election number once they register. The NEC will accept registration until 6 p.m., Friday, at its local offices nationwide.Full Article: Candidacy registration for general election begins.
The electoral map for the April 13 general election was finalized Sunday, just 45 days before voters go to the polls. The electoral redistricting committee, a sub-committee of the National Election Commission (NEC), delivered the final draft that set the constituency boundaries for the upcoming election to the National Assembly. The leaders of the rival parties agreed last week to pass the bill today. Completion of the process drew additional attention because it could lead to bipartisan negotiations on the contentious anti-terrorist bill, and possibly ending the opposition’s marathon filibuster.Full Article: New electoral boundaries finalized.
With just 100 days to go before voters cast their ballots, the general elections in April remain mired in uncertainty due to the absence of local constituencies. Rival parties have failed to fully agree on redrawing the electoral constituency map for the elections on April 13. The current electoral map became invalid by the end of 2015. For the first time in history, candidates seeking parliamentary seats in the 20th National Assembly are jockeying for position ahead of elections without exactly knowing the constituencies. The rival parties are required to redraw electoral districts as the Constitutional Court ruled in October 2014 that the electoral map was unconstitutional, citing unequal representation.Full Article: General elections mired in uncertainty without constituencies.
Overseas voter registration for South Korean elections just got easier thanks to a revised bill passed by the National Assembly last week. Under the bill, the South Korean government will work to install polling stations overseas and to simplify the registration process, starting next year following the April legislative election. Polling stations will be installed in regions with Korean nationals numbering more than 40,000. In New York, that means two stations will be installed in addition to the existing Consulate General.Full Article: S. Korean govt passes bill simplifying overseas voter registration – The Korea Times.
The ruling party drafted a proposal to cut equal number of electoral districts in the rival provinces of Gyeongsang and Jeolla to resolve deadlocked negotiation over a new constituency map, the JoongAng Ilbo learned Sunday. The JoongAng Ilbo obtained an internal document from the ruling Saenuri Party on Sunday and confirmed the proposal with a senior party official. According to the plan, the Saenuri Party will propose to the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) that Gyeongsang, the Saenuri stronghold, and Jeolla, an NPAD stronghold, will each lose two seats. Eight seats in Gwangju Metropolitan City, an NPAD stronghold, will remain unchanged.Full Article: Saenuri offers a concession on electoral map-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily.
Ruling and opposition parties failed to meet the legal deadline to redraw the electoral map Friday, causing trouble for political candidates planning to debut in next year’s general election. Talks on redrawing constituencies are likely to drag into next year due to the rival parties’ disagreements on whether to decrease the number of those elected under proportional representation. With four weeks before preliminary candidate registration on Dec. 15, potential newcomers may be put at a disadvantage in launching their campaigns, say critics. They are expected to have difficulty choosing their constituencies because they will not be sure where they should register for the election, scheduled for April 13, 2016.Full Article: Failed redistricting causes confusion for political newcomers.
The ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) resumed their negotiations Tuesday to redraw constituencies in preparation for the general election slated for April 13 next year. They previously planned to complete the talks by Friday, five months ahead of the election, following the collapse of their previous talks, but the deadline is likely to be extended further due to wide differences on how to redraw the electoral map. Some worry that their debates could drag on into next year. “They are not expected to reach an agreement by either the Nov. 13 deadline or anytime soon due to differing views,” said Bae Jong-chan, the chief director at political pollster Research and Research.Full Article: Electoral map talks may drag on into next year.
The reform committee of the main opposition party has opened a political Pandora’s Box by recommending a wholesale reorganization of electoral districts and proportional representatives, a plan that would ultimately increase the number of seats in the National Assembly by nearly a fourth. The New Politics Alliance for Democracy’s (NPAD) reform committee, headed by Kim Sang-gon, a liberal icon in the education community, presented a plan on Sunday that would redraw the current electoral map. It is based on an earlier proposal by the National Election Commission. In October, the Constitutional Court ruled the current electoral constituency map unconstitutional, saying it resulted in unequal representation caused by population changes. The National Election Commission presented its plan in February and the National Assembly created a special committee in March to discuss the issue. The redistricting is supposed to be finalized by October.Full Article: Korea’s electoral map is being totally rewritten-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily.
The whole process of the by-elections, from voters entering polling stations to ballot-counting, was broadcast live online Wednesday. To improve transparency of the four by-elections in Seoul, Incheon, Seongnam and Gwangju, the National Election Commission (NEC) aired special programs live on its website, YouTube, Naver and Daum. The NEC said this was to earn people’s trust over the nation’s election system.Full Article: Voting counting broadcast live online.
The June 4 elections had widely been expected to be quiet and uneventful in the wake of the Sewol ferry incident three weeks ago. The elections were completed without any foul play or controversy. As many as 23,465,000 went to the booth out of 41,296,000 registered voters, with the final voting ratio of 56.8 percent. This is the second highest voting ratio among all local elections. Just like any other country going through elections these days, Korea is no exception in that people love to take “selfies” right after they cast their ballots and show it off on their social networking spaces. In the past, it was usually restricted to entertainers and other celebrities. But now more and more ordinary people are doing it, promoting themselves that they are proud voters. Korean voters are today allowed to take pictures of themselves in front of a polling station and publish them on the Internet. But the pictures must be in ways that show a simple fact that one has voted.Full Article: [Feature] Picture Taking at Polling Stations Becomes a National Fad | Be Korea-savvy.
Korea posted a record high early voter turnout in part due to technologies such as electronic voting, adopted at ballot stations nationwide. Various political agenda ― from the Sewol ferry sinking and education, to public welfare and security ― have driven mostly those in their 20s and 30s to vote in advance. But the record turnout of 11.5 percent during the two-day period last week was partly attributable to a connected system allowing more than 3,500 polling stations to rapidly cross-check voters’ identities with a centralized database. Given that the database stored information of eligible voters, constituents were able to quickly and comfortably cast their ballots anywhere by either showing identification cards or having their fingerprints scanned.Full Article: Technology brings changes to voting.
A Seoul court on Monday acquitted 45 people on charges of proxy voting in selecting a minor opposition party’s proportional candidates ahead of last year’s April parliamentary elections. With similar cases pending in the court, legal experts expect the ruling could affect the verdicts of some 400 other people who are standing trials in connection with the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) election fraud scandal. The scandal centers around allegations that votes were cast en masse through a single Internet Protocol (IP) address in the UPP’s primary for proportional representation seats that took place in March 2012. IP addresses, the online equivalent of a street address or a phone number, should be different for each voter. Multiple or proxy voting allegedly happened with offline ballots as well.Full Article: Court acquits 45 people over UPP election fraud scandal.
South Korea’s president-elect, Park Geun-hye, called for national reconciliationon Thursday and met with foreign envoys in Seoul, a day after she was elected the country’s first female leader in a close contest that reflected generational and regional divides and growing unease over North Korea’s military threat. Ms. Park, 60, the daughter of South Korea’s longest-ruling dictator, won 51.6 percent of the votes cast on Wednesday to choose a successor to President Lee Myung-bak, who was barred by law from seeking a second term. “I will reflect various opinions of the people, whether they have supported or opposed me,” Ms. Park said in a speech Thursday. She pledged “impartiality,” “national harmony” and “reconciliation,” saying she would bring people into her government “regardless of their regional background, gender and generation.”Full Article: Park Geun-hye, South Korean President-Elect, Calls for Reconciliation - NYTimes.com.
South Koreans have started casting their votes in a potentially historic presidential election that could result in Asia’s fourth-largest economy getting its first female leader. Polling stations opened on Tuesday, with polls showing a tight race between ruling conservative party candidate Park Geun-Hye and her liberal rival from the main opposition party, Moon Jae-In. The booths were schedule to close at 6pm with a national holiday declared to allow maximum turnout among the country’s more than 40 million registered voters.Full Article: S Koreans vote in tight presidential election - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English.
The voter turnout for this year’s president race is expected to hover around 70 percent, the country’s National Election Commission (NEC) said Tuesday. The prediction by the state election watchdog comes a day before people cast their votes to pick the country’s next chief executive and is based on a nationwide poll it commissioned earlier in the month. The survey of 1,500 people by local pollster Korea Research Center showed 79.9 percent claiming they will definitely vote.Full Article: Voter turnout to hover around 70 pct: election commission | YONHAP NEWS.
Park Geun-hye spent part of her childhood in South Korea’s presidential palace, raised by an autocratic father who seized power in a military coup 51 years ago. She returns now as the democratically elected president of a nation concerned about its slowing economy and mounting social problems. With her narrow victory in Wednesday’s election, Park, 60, becomes an unlikely leader: She’s the first female president in a nation dominated by men, and she’s a conservative selected by voters to address their largely left-leaning wishes, including greater engagement with North Korea and a major expansion of government welfare spending.Full Article: Park Geun-hye wins South Korea’s presidential election - The Washington Post.
South Korea’s Dec. 19 presidential election will make history as the first to accept absentee ballots from voters living in Japan, including many long-term ethnic Korean residents denied a vote in Japanese elections. On Dec. 5 the South Korean Embassy opened its doors to voters, admitting them to a makeshift polling station inside. “Fill out ballots here,” said signs in Korean and Japanese affixed to a row of booths. After verifying voters’ identification, embassy staff explained what to do. “This is the first time I have ever voted in my life. My hands were shaking,” said 85-year-old Rhee Sang-bae, 85, whose eyes moistened as he spoke. Rhee had traveled by bus and train from Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture.Full Article: Absentee ballots to count in S. Korean election for first time - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun.