Conservative Yoon Seok-wook wins South Korea’s presidential election. Yoon Seok-youl, a conservative former prosecutor and relative political rookie, will be South Korea’s next president.
In the hotly contested election, Yoon Suk-hye defeated his liberal opponent, former governor Lee Jae-myung. Many observers said the election was one of the ugliest in South Korea’s 35-year democratic history.
Conservative Yoon Seok-wook wins South Korea’s presidential election
In Wednesday’s election, with 98 percent of the votes counted, Yin Xiyue leads Lee by about 260,000 votes. Lee Jae-myung conceded defeat at around 4 a.m. local time on Thursday.
Yin Xiyue will take the helm of the world’s tenth largest economy and Asia’s fourth largest economy at a time of deepening social division and economic challenges. He will replace Moon Jae-in as president in May. The term limit of South Korean presidents is five years.
On foreign policy, Yin Xiyue has pledged to take a tougher stance on North Korea and China. North Korea has recently stepped up its provocative missile tests, while China is South Korea’s largest trading partner. Yoon also vowed to improve South Korea’s ties with Japan and prioritize Seoul’s alliance with Washington.
Perhaps Yoon’s most high-profile domestic initiative was his pledge to abolish South Korea’s Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. During the campaign, Yin Xiyue courted young men, many of whom opposed feminism. Although South Korea is at or near the bottom of the global ranking of developed countries for gender equality, Yoon said there is no “structural discrimination” against women in the country.
Yoon Seok-hye, 61, became a political celebrity for leading the investigation into Park Geun-hye, the former president of South Korea. Park Geun-hye was impeached in 2017 and convicted on corruption charges. Park Geun-hye is a conservative icon, the daughter of assassinated longtime military dictator Park Chung-hee.
The impeachment of Park Geun-hye has confused and divided South Korean conservatives. Yin Xiyue’s election could help bridge some of those rifts, analysts said. However, Yin Xiyue will be limited by the left-leaning Democratic Party, which holds an absolute majority in the legislature. “There are still two years until the next general election, so there is not much he can do,” said Kim Min-ha, a South Korean political commentator and author.
But not everyone agrees with this view.
“A lot of the changes he wants to make can be done within the executive branch,” said Darcie Draudt, an expert on Korea and a postdoctoral fellow at the George Washington Institute of Korean Studies. She said a lot would depend on how the main Liberals deal with defeat.
“Historically, a party that loses a presidential election will face an internal crisis and reform itself, split into smaller satellite parties and rally around powerful voices and charismatic new politicians,” she said. Say. “Given the ambivalence among voters toward the two leading candidates in this election, as well as the mutual smears among the various campaigns, there may be a feud within the (Democratic Party) that could distract from restrictions on Yin Xiyue’s initiative.”
Public opinion surveys show that both Yin Xiyue and Li Zaiming are very unpopular, causing many domestic media to call this campaign “an election of unpopular people”.
While South Korea faces soaring housing prices, high youth unemployment and an economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the campaign has focused on high-profile corruption allegations and filthy personal scandals.
Yin Xiyue has been plagued by accusations of his reliance on shamanism and superstition. During a televised debate, he was forced to deny meeting with an unlicensed religious practitioner who specializes in anal acupuncture.
The question for liberal Lee Jae-myung is whether he knew about or was involved in a growing real estate corruption scandal while serving as mayor of a small town on the outskirts of Seoul.
Yin Xiyue threatened to investigate Moon Jae-in and his rival Lee Jae-myung. He also likened those in the ruling party to Hitler and Mussolini.
The fierce battle between conservatives and liberals in South Korea has a long history. It often feels like a zero-sum game; every living former president has been convicted, many after his political opponents took power.