In 1987, South Korea held its first national elections after more than 25 years of authoritarian, military backed governments. During these elections, some 100,000 poll watchers reported by giving the first effort at election monitoring. Most of this election-related activism was conducted by dissident groups and other partisan members of the opposition. During the 1991 elections for local councilors, the emerging NGO movement split to follow two different strategies: a YMCA-led coalition fielded candidates in the elections, while an umbrella group led by the Citizen’s Coalition for Economic Justice (CCEJ) limited its role to conducting voter education and election monitoring. Almost all the NGO candidates lost and, as a result, the politically active NGOs joined to form the Citizens’ Coalition for Clean and Fair Election (CCCFE) to monitor the 1992 legislative and presidential elections.
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), founded in 1994, has actively been working on promoting people’s participation in government decision making processes and socio-economic reforms, by closely monitoring the abuse of power of the state and corporations to enhance transparency and accountability.
International Election Observation Program for the 2020 General Election
For the 21st National Assembly Election, NEC planned to conduct the International Election Observation Program (IEOP) while they intended to share its experience and expertise of election management in the Republic of Korea through the IEOP. However, the IEOP was cancelled because of the spread of COVID-19 around the world. Although the NEC informed the expected participants of the cancellation, they could carry out the elections as scheduled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NEC also managed to share how they manage the elections and ensure the safety of voters and election-related staff at polling counting stations. Therefore, they arranged the live streaming to be able to observe the whole election process for the 2020 General election.