Election watchdog tells voters not to bring leeks to polling booths

A shopper looks at grocery products at a supermarket in Yongsan District, Seoul, March 29. Yonhap

Voters are prohibited from bringing leeks into polling stations during the general elections, as the nation’s election watchdog perceived the act as politically motivated and may constitute a violation of the Public Official Election Act.The decision has sparked criticism from opposition parties, which have been using the green vegetable to mock President Yoon Suk Yeol’s apparent inability to tame soaring agricultural product prices.The National Election Commission (NEC) distributed guidelines to its staff at polling stations nationwide as early voting kicked off on Friday, instructing them on how to handle potential complaints from voters. Early voting will continue through Saturday, with elections slated for next Wednesday.”Since leeks can be regarded as a form of political expression, if an individual tries to bring them into the polling station, they will be advised to store them at a suitable location outside,” the instructions read.

The election watchdog added that carrying leeks could potentially influence other voters’ decisions and also violate the principle of secret voting, as the vegetable is considered to be a form of protest against specific parties or candidates.The NEC also explained that the instruction was included to avoid possible confusion after receiving inquiries from several voters asking if they could bring leeks into polling stations as a show of protest against the Yoon Suk Yeol government.Following the decision, the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) criticized the election watchdog for turning the elections into a comedy show.The Rebuilding Korea Party, a liberal party led by former Justice Minister Cho Kuk, issued a statement with a touch of sarcasm.”Please leave leeks outside the polling station. Whether you can carry other vegetables such as onions requires further inquiry,” it said.The vegetable has been a source of political debate following Yoon’s remarks on leek prices last month.During a March 18 visit to a grocery store in Seoul to inspect food prices, Yoon commented that a bundle of leeks priced at 875 won ($0.65) seemed reasonable. Subsequently, it was discovered that the leeks were being offered at an unusually low price as part of a super discount promotion. This was particularly notable considering that the average price of leeks stood at around 3,000 won, amid a 20 percent year-on-year increase in agricultural product 카지노사이트 prices.

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