Organisation : National Election Commission
Facility : Right to Vote and Eligibility for Election
Country : Republic of Korea
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Right to Vote and Eligibility for Election :
Right to Vote :
** A national of nineteen years of age or above has the right to vote in the presidential election and the National Assembly Elections.
** A national who is nineteen years of age or above and is registered as a resident in the district under the jurisdiction of the local government concerned as of the record date of the voters list has the right to vote in local elections.
** According to the Article 34 (Preparation and Management of Registration Form of Foreigners) of ‘Immigration Control Act ‘,people who are registered in a foreign register of local autonomy concerned have a right to vote.
However, a person falling under any of the following, as of the Election Day, shall be disfranchised :
** A person who is declared incompetent
** A person who is sentenced to imprisonment without prison labor or a heavier punishment but whose sentence execution has not been terminated or whose sentence execution has not been decided to be exempted
** A person who commits an election crime, who violates the Election Act/the Political Fund Act, or who commits the crimes in connection with the duties while in office as the President, a member of the National Assembly, a member of local council, and a head of local government.
** A person whose right to vote is suspended or forfeited according to a court ruling or other Acts.
Electoral Eligibility :
** A national who is forty years of age or above and who has resided in the country for five years or longer as of the Election Day is eligible to run for the presidential election.
** A national of twenty-five years of age or above is eligible to stand for a member of the National Assembly.
** A national who has registered as a resident in the district under jurisdiction of the local government concerned for sixty consecutive days or longer as of the Election Day and is twenty-five years of age or above is eligible to stand for elections for the relevant local council members and the head of the local government.
Types of Elections and Basic Principles of Election :
Elections for Public Office :
Types of Elections :
** The Election Commission is in charge of the management of the elections prescribed in the Public Official Election Act, that is, the presidential election, the election for the National Assembly members, the local elections for heads of local governments and members of local councils
Basic Principles of Elections :
Universal Ballot :
** In principle, every citizen reaching a specific age has the right to vote without discrimination on the social status, race, religion, gender, education, property, etc.
Equal Ballot :
** Every person is entitled to one vote. No one is allowed plural.
Direct Ballot :
** Eligible voters can participate in the voting process directly and personally.
Secret Ballot :
** The principle of voting that ensures no one will know which political party or candidate the voter has chosen so that a voter can exercise the right to vote in a free and fair way without (being placed under) external interferences like bribery, intimidation, nepotism, etc.
Free Election :
** The Election Law obliges voters to faithfully participate in elections and exercise their right, but there is no penalty against non-participation
Election Day and Election Period :
Determination of Election Day :
** Where there is no law to fix the date of an election, there is a possibility that the government and ruling party might schedule the election to their advantage, whereby the fairness of the election may be marred. In Korea, rows over this issue had been going on until 1994. The election act was established, which designated the dates of elections held at the expiration of the term, special elections and re-elections.
** But in case of an election to fill up a presidential vacancy or reelection and an election for the heads of local governments due to an establishment, abolition, division or merger of local governments, the Election Days can be set by the president (or acting president) and the chairperson of the competent constituency election commission.
Date of Each Election :
1. The Presidential Election : The first Wednesday from the 70th day before the expiration of the term of office.
2. The Election for the National Assembly Members: The first Wednesday from the 50th day before the expiration of the term of office.
3. The Elections of Heads of Local Governments and Local Council Members : The first Wednesday from the 30th day before the expiration of the term of office.
4. Special Election/Re-election : The last Wednesday in April and October If the Election Day falls on a folk festival day or legal holiday closely related with the lives of the people or the day preceding or following the Election Day is a legal holiday, the election is held on the Wednesday of the following week.
Election Period :
The presidential election : 23 days
The elections for National Assembly members and for Local Councils and for Head of Local Government : 14 days Election campaigns are allowed from the day after the closing date of candidate registration to the day before the Election Day and no campaign whatsoever is permitted on the Election Day.