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Poll suggests alternative military service 1.5 to 2 times longer than regular one

All Headlines 11:57 July 02, 2018

SEOUL, July 2 (Yonhap) -- Two in three South Koreans think alternative military service, if introduced for conscientious objectors following a recent ruling by the Constitutional Court, should be 1.5 to 2 times longer than regular military service, a poll showed Monday.

According to the survey of 500 adults nationwide by pollster Realmeter, 34 percent said conscientious objectors should spend 1.5 times longer in alternative military service, while 30.8 percent suggested the length should be two times longer.

The poll, which was carried out on June 29 after the Constitutional Court ordered the revision of the conscription law to allow for alternative service for conscientious objectors by the end of next year, has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points and a 95 percent confidence level.

Under the current law, all able-bodied South Korean men are required to serve for around two years in the military.

File photos show supporters and opponents of the Constitutional Court's ruling on the introduction of alternative service for conscientious objectors rallying in front of the court in Seoul on June 28, 2018. (Yonhap)

Altogether, 64.8 percent of the respondents want conscientious objectors to serve in alternative military service for around three to four years, the poll said.

Among the minority opinions, 17.6 percent called for no difference in length between regular and alternative services, with 14.4 percent asking for more than six years for those choosing alternative services.

By sex, 35 percent of women proposed 1.5 times longer alternative service, while 37.3 percent of men called for two times, the poll found. By ideology, 37.4 percent of liberal respondents preferred 1.5 times, whereas 37.7 percent of conservatives suggested two times longer alternative service, it noted.

Over the past six years, about 2,700 people have refused to serve in the military mostly for religious reasons. Almost all of the violators served jail terms or are still on trial.

ycm@yna.co.kr
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