Election watchdog vows fair election management

South Korea’s election watchdog chief vowed Saturday to administer the upcoming presidential by-election “transparently and fairly,” and called on the nation to turn it into an opportunity to restore national unity.

Kim Yong-deok, the chairperson of the National Election Commission (NEC), made the remarks a day after the Constitutional Court ruled to dismiss President Park Geun-hye and set the stage for the election two months later.

“This year’s presidential election should be an opportunity to restore national unity and integration beyond conflicts and divisions,” Kim said.

“The NEC views the meaning of this election, which will be held under grave circumstances, with a heavy heart, and will fulfill our constitutional duties to manage the election strictly and fairly,” he added.

Noting that the election should be prepared within a short period of time, Kim said that the NEC will quickly disseminate information on candidates and their policy pledges, and “sternly” respond to any election irregularities.

Kim, in addition, urged political parties and candidates to fairly compete within the boundary of the law, media to refrain from reporting on unfounded stories, and public officials to remain politically neutral.

The NEC chief also called for citizens to actively participate in the election, stressing that a legitimate democracy requires citizens’ participation.

“The presidential election this year is a critical one where the fate of the Republic of Korea is at stake,” he said. “Please participate at the polls and show clearly that sovereignty comes from citizens and all government’s authority comes from the citizens.” (Yonhap)

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