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
"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
Mr. Roh's message, while sent to all lawmakers, targets the Grand National Party
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
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
by Lee Soo-ho, Kim Won-bae [email protected]