April 20, 2020

South Korea's Coronavirus Elections are a Litmus Test for President Moon's Political Future

By Duyeon Kim

For South Koreans, postponing elections is unimaginable because of their dark past. But little did they know that simply exercising their inalienable right to improve their lives would shine yet another spotlight on their country. The legislative elections proceeded despite a national health crisis while showing the world how to conduct them as safe as possible and how political candidates can secure votes. The results signaled the future state of affairs at home as well as the possible trajectory of the Korean Peninsula, the U.S.-South Korea alliance, and geopolitical relations in Northeast Asia.

In a landslide, progressive South Korean president Moon Jae-in’s ruling coalition scored the largest win in legislative elections since the country’s democratic transition in 1987 from decades of authoritarian rule. Moon’s Democratic Party and allied parties swept up 180 of 300 seats in the National Assembly in a new voting system that combined direct and proportional votes. Voter turnout recorded the highest level since 1992 of 66.2 percent. These elections also ushered in a new generation of lawmakers and a record-high number of elected women of fifty-seven, or 19 percent of all seats.

Read the full article in The National Interest.

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