Rival Parties Compromising on Election Law

Article excerpt

Ruling and opposition parties, prompted by the growing public calls for political truce, are ironing out their differing stances on the much-disputed reform draft on electoral constituency system.

Trying to ram the argument home at an early date and bracing themselves for the incoming Assembly elections, they are moving to adopt the small-size constituency system in which one lawmaker is elected for an electoral district, and the proportional representation system, under which voters would cast two ballots -- one for the party and the other for the candidate.

This means that the ruling camp has virtually discarded its long-cherished multi-seat medium-size constituency system in which three lawmakers are elected for a larger district.

This turnaround came after President Kim Dae-jung, concurrently president of the governing National Congress for New Politics (NCNP), demonstrated a flexible position in dealing with the constituency issue, shifting from his earlier stubborn adherence to the medium-size constituency system.

In a meeting with a group of NCNP leaders Wednesday, Kim said, ``The matter pertaining to the election constituency system needs to be settled smoothly through dialogue with the opposition party.''

Rep. Lee Hoi-chang, president of the opposition Grand National Party (GNP), sent a sign of reconciliation expressing his intention to meet with President Kim to resolve pending issues, on condition that a string of requirements are met.

An NCNP ranking official said that the party has agreed with the opposition GNP to adopt the small constituency system and the proportional representation system through behind-the-scenes contacts.

``We are focusing on how to allot Assembly seats under the proportional representation system,'' said the official.

A GNP official also confirmed the bilateral agreement to maintain the current single-seat small constituency system. …