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Worst election ever, but …

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07.04.2020

By Choi Sung-jin

In a week, Korean voters will hit the polls to elect their representatives for the country's 21st National Assembly.

Despite the significance of the quadrennial political event, the people's expectations for the upcoming parliamentary elections couldn't be lower. No one can blame them. This general election is unprecedented in many ways ― mostly bad.

Political commentators are not hesitating to predict this will be the "worst election ever." To greater or less degrees but without exceptions, elections in this country have been marred by foul play and low blows. Regionalism, the "red complex," backbiting, name-calling and mudslinging have replaced plausible policies and fresh ideas.

The upcoming one, however, will go far beyond them. This had long been expected, specifically when the two giant political parties began to tinker with the Election Law, replacing it with the tongue-twisting "semi-interlocking proportional representation system."

As is the case with most political gimmicks, the initial intention behind the system was good. It was to offer chances to minor political groups to represent their interests by giving them Assembly seats if they could win at least 3 percent of the vote. However, it did not take long before the conservative main opposition, United Future Party (UFP), went through one of its loopholes. It created a few satellite ― or puppet ― parties to carve out the lion's share of the 47 seats allotted for proportional representation, out of the total 300.

That left three options for the ruling left-of-center Democratic Party of Korea (DKP). Ignore its right-wing........

© The Korea Times