UPDATE : 2018.7.21 SAT 09:30
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KEF urges presidential hopefuls to abide by market economy principles

South Korea's major business lobby Sunday urged presidential hopefuls to observe market economy principles to create an atmosphere favorable to businesses that leads to more investments in facilities and jobs, which it said is the top priority of any presidential hopeful.

Presidential candidates hold hands before their second TV debate, hosted by KBS, on April 19, 2017. From left are Sim Sang-jeung, Hong Joon-pyo, Yoo Seong-min, Moon Jae-in and Ahn Cheol-soo. (Yonhap)

The Korean Employers Federation (KEF) called on them to introduce measures to help large shareholders defend against hostile takeover bids and use substitute workers during strikes by labor unions.

Such measures will be a prerequisite to increased hiring by private firms, the KEF said in a policy recommendation presented to the hopefuls.

South Korea has yet to introduce the poison pill system and disproportionate voting rights in favor of large shareholders in the case of hostile merger and acquisition attempts.

The poison pill system gives large shareholders the right to buy new shares quickly at a discount rate when they face an unsolicited takeover bid, while disproportionate voting rights allow large shareholders more than one vote to help them defend their management against hostile M&A bids.

The KEF also called on the presidential candidates to legislate to allow businesses to use substitute employees in case of strikes and ban unionized workers from occupying their workplaces while striking.

On the attempts by some candidates to restructure big businesses under "economic democratization," the business lobby said, "It is desirable for the shareholders to restructure their companies on their own based on economic conditions and efficiency."

The presidential election will be held May 9, about seven months earlier than usual as the Constitutional Court impeached then-President Park Geun-hye in March over a bribery scandal. Park's single five-year term was scheduled to last until next February, with the election of her successor in December. (Yonhap)

Kim Jung-mi  edt@koreapost.com

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