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JoongAng Daily

December 18, 2003

Roh presents reform plan
The aim is to change the electoral system

President Roh Moo-hyun sent letters to all National Assembly lawmakers yesterday regarding his political reform bill, whose core is changing the electoral system.

"The three major reform tasks for Korean politics I am suggesting are overcoming regionalism, achieving transparency, and attaining a participatory democracy," Mr. Roh's message said.

"Among the three goals, overcoming regionalism is the most important for Korean politics and I think the introduction of a major or medium constituency system in which two to five lawmakers are elected in each district will best contribute to that aim."

The current electoral system is the single member constituency system, in which one member is elected in each district.

Mr. Roh also said he is considering a mixed electoral system in which a single member constituency system is observed in rural districts and a major or medium system is observed in urban districts.

Mr. Roh said if his proposal for a major or medium system is not realized, then there should at least be a proportional representation system based on each region of the country.

The system bases representation on the number of votes garnered by each party in an election.

Mr. Roh's message, while sent to all lawmakers, targets the Grand National Party lawmakers.

All other parties except the Grand National Party, which holds a substantial majority of seats in the National Assembly, support a multimember-district system, in which two or more members are chosen to represent a single district.

Aides to Mr. Roh said the president's second major strategy to reform politics had begun. "Mr. Roh's conception of political reform is composed of two parts," said a close aide to Mr. Roh.

"The first is to investigate and find out how corrupt the nation's political culture is, and the second is to create a new framework of politics."

He said the first part is being achieved by the prosecution's investigation of illegal presidential campaign financing last year. An aide said the second is to overcome regionalism.

by Lee Soo-ho, Kim Won-bae [email protected]


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