Posted April. 27, 2017 07:24,
Updated April. 27, 2017 07:30
With less than 15 days left before the presidential election day, the number of undecided voters seem to be increasing. The number usually tends to decrease as the election day draws near. This time, however, the trend has reversed. In the Gallup Korea’s opinion poll conducted in the first week of April, 13 percent of those polled said they had not made up their mind yet. In an April 21-22 Qantar Public poll, 21.3 percent of the respondents were undecided. Experts say that many conservative voters have turned undecided at a time when conservative parties are divided. As Moon Jae-in of the main opposition Democratic Party has been leading in most polls since the beginning of the campaign, with another opposition candidate, Ahn Chul-soo of the People’s Party, trailing, many conservative voters cannot decide whom to support, experts say.
Conservative voters are estimated to account for more than 30 percent of the electorate. They have been shaken by their anxiety over Moon’s positions on national security and North Korea, shifting from former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to South Chungcheong Governor Ahn Hee-jung and then to Ahn. Whether the conservative voters will decrease or give up voting will likely become the biggest factor in this election.
Television debates among the candidates have also fanned the public distrust of politics. The low quality debates have played a role in increasing undecided voters. The presidential contenders have failed to present visions and policies that attracted the public. The candidates focused on smear campaigns against others, while some runners caused viewers to raise their eyebrows with arrogant attitudes. Therefore, many voters say they have not been able to make up their minds or even that they do not want to go to the polls.
Nevertheless, change starts from voters. It is necessary for voters to make a wise choice of leadership that would lead the nation through complex crises involving national security and the economy. It can be said that this usual election would lay a new foundation for the nation. Participating in the voting to reflect the people’s will is the first step toward changing the Korean politics.
A low turnout would distort the public’s will. A leader without sufficient representativeness could add to political chaos even after the election. It is a serious crisis in democracy for undecided voters to increase or for voters to want to avoid voting. The National Election Commission has sent election bulletins to each household. We urge voters to exercise their voting right after meticulously checking each candidate’s pledges and policies.