On the afternoon of the 20th, the Justice Party applied for an injunction with the Seoul Southern District Court to suspend TV debate broadcasts during the Lunar New Year holiday between Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung and People’s Strength presidential candidate Yoon Seok-yeol.
The Justice Party viewed the debates between the two large parties as infringing on the constitutional right to equality, the right to be elected, and the right to participate in the debate under the Public Official Election Act.
Floor leader Bae Jin-kyo said, “If presidential candidate Shim Sang-jung fails to participate in the debate, the candidate will lose the opportunity to persuade the voters, and the image of a small party will harden at the beginning of the campaign, which will put it at a disadvantage in the future election process.” The right to know the policy and vision of the party is infringed, and the right to choose is undermined.”
On the 19th, the People’s Party, which applied for an injunction to the Seoul Western District Court, held a press conference in front of the National Assembly headquarters on the same day and said, “What both vested parties are doing is a collusion of interests that only they will rise to the top of the table on New Year’s Day.” It is a constitutional institution for the purpose of protecting people from unfair practices, and broadcasting companies are planning and conducting discussions that infringe on the people’s right to know.”
The National Election Commission is of the opinion that there is no legal problem because it is a discussion hosted by broadcasting companies. However, in 2007, when KBS and MBC tried to hold a broadcast debate in which only then-UDP presidential candidate Chung Dong-young, Grand National Party presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak, and independent candidate Lee Hoe-chang were invited by KBS and MBC, in 2007, Moon Kook-hyun, a candidate for the Creative Korea Party, filed an application for an injunction to ban broadcasting and was cited. The court accepted the assertion that “the discretion of the media organization on the criteria for inviting candidates is binding discretion (which can be used only in exceptional circumstances) for the purpose of the Public Official Election Act legislative purpose.”
The Democratic Party of Korea and the People’s Power have agreed to hold a TV debate over the Lunar New Year holidays, but their positions on the four-party debate differ. While the Democratic Party is positive, the position is that the power of the people cannot be discussed.
Article 82-2 of the Public Official Election Act (conversation/debate hosted by the Election Broadcasting and Debate Committee) requires that candidates be invited to discuss at least three times during the presidential election campaign. After February 15, the official start date of the presidential election campaign, three court debates will be held hosted by the National Election Commission, in which Candidate Ahn and Candidate Shim also participate.