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Parliament engages in hot debate over candidate nomination system for local elections Updated: 2014-02-07 03:42:21 KST

On Thursday, lawmakers from the two main rival parties debated over whether to scrap a system in which political parties nominate candidates for local elections -- a campaign pledge made by both ruling and opposition presidential candidates in 2012.
The main opposition Democratic Party sharply criticized President Park Geun-hye and her Cabinet for reneging on a pledge to abolish the system.

"President Park has preached that the worst kind of politics is the kind that does not keep its promises to the people and stressed the themes of 'trust' and 'principle.' Would you consider advising the president to stop ignoring this issue, Mr. Prime Minister?"

The ruling party said that getting rid of the candidate nomination system could be unconstitutional, arguing that doing so could interfere with the candidates' right to express their party affiliation and the voters' right to know.

"The candidate nomination rights are currently monopolized by some political party leaders. I believe adopting an open primary could be the best way to give the people a chance to nominate candidates."

Both the ruling and opposition party lawmakers demanded an answer on the issue from the government, but the government promptly passed the ball to the National Assembly saying the matter pertains to the political arena.

"Even experts are divided on whether scrapping the political parties' candidate nomination system would be unconstitutional. Taking these views into consideration, we would like the parliament to have a thorough discussion on the issue and draw a conclusion."

"With all sides refusing to compromise, the debate over the candidate nomination system is largely expected to dominate politics for the rest of the month.
The parliament will resume the interpellation session next week, with a focus on foreign policy, the economy and culture.
Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News."
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