image: freeimages.com/Attilio Lombardo
by Wint Jan
South Korea has faced big political changes since the last election on the 13th of April, 2016. Even though a number of analysts had expected the ruling Saenuri Party to take the majority in the Assembly again, the Korean people’s actual selection headed towards the opposing Democratic Party. Out of a possible 300 parliamentary seats, the Democratic Party won 123 while the Saenuri Party took 122. This result caused a huge shock to President Park herself and the ruling party as well as the resignation of the Saenuri Party’s leader, Kim Moo-Seong, and embarrassing comments directed from the current government.
Why did this phenomenon happen? We can pick three possible reasons. The first one is the failure of the Park Administration’s economic policy. During her tenure since 2013, the economy of Korea and the unemployment rate have shown disappointing results. The government increased taxes for its citizens but decreased them for big companies like Samsung and LG. People in their 30s to 50s in particular felt a sense of despair due to these policies and expressed themselves by voting for the opposition. The second point is the disappointment over the president and ruling party’s past movements like the unilateral passing of the anti-terrorism law, the changing of Korean history textbooks in schools, and the comfort woman issue cases (see my previous articles in The Priori for more information on these issues). President Park Geun-Hye and the Saenuri Party did not listen to the Korean people and instead carried out their own plans and agenda. College student Park In-Pyo (22), who once supported the president and her party, said “I changed my political side to the opposition in this election and I think it is right. It is because the administration and the ruling party do not listen to the people’s voice.” The Last reason that the Saenueri Party has not worked well as a ruling party. As the ruling party, they need to be seen to suggest viable ways to govern for the great good of the country. This would be done by pointing out flaws in the government policy and by reflecting the citizen’s critical view. However the ruling party of Korea has failed at this due to the administration’s political pressure since 2013. And as a result they received the harsh judgement from its citizens in this April.
The election of 4.13 in Korea fully expressed the current Korean politics as well. The result is the approval rate of the Park administration has drop significantly. Now the lame duck administration has already started. Now is time to watch what will be the future of in South Korean politics.