ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - Progressive party wins general elections, President Roh entrusted with the re-launching of the economy

Friday, 16 April 2004

Seoul (Fides Service) - Korea begins a new political era with the victory of the liberal-progressive Uri Party which defeated a coalition of conservative and moderate parties. The results were announced by the South Korean central electoral Commission : Uri (meaning ‘our’ in Korean ), won 152 of the 299 seats of the National Assembly (it had 74 in the previous Parliament); the Great National Party retained only 12 of the 149 seats it had. Its ally Democratic Millennium Party gained only 9 of its former 62 seats. This is the first time that a progressive party obtains such a landslide victory and the majority of the Assembly.
The vote would seem to have been affected by the impeachment voted by the two conservative parties in March of President Roh Moo Hyun who has the support of the Uri Party. In the meantime South Korea’s Premier Goh Kun has asked for the abnormal situation of President Roh to be settled as soon as possible. “The will of the people - he said- appears clearly from the vote. A prolongation of the situation of impeachment would affect the international credibility of our country also at the financial level”, Goh said, urging the Constitutional Court to accelerate its work .
According to South Korea’s Constitution, only Constitutional Court can dismiss a head of state and it has six months from the impeachment motion, made on March 12, to issue its indisputable verdict.
Observers say Korean citizens gave no credit to the scandalous rumours about President Roh trusting him to re-launch the economy, fight unemployment and give new impulse to the labour market.(PA) (Agenzia Fides 16/4/2004 lines 28 words 250)