T/n: FIY Theqoo has crashed due to the elections – it is important to remind in this time that reactions online don’t represent all of Korea
SEOUL — A graft prosecutor-turned opposition leader has won an extremely close presidential election in South Korea, reinstating conservatives to power with calls for a more confrontational stance against North Korea and a stronger alliance with the United States.
With 98 percent of the votes counted, the opposition leader, Yoon Suk-yeol, was leading by a margin of 263,000 votes, or 0.8 percentage points, when his opponent conceded early Thursday. It was South Korea’s tightest race since it began holding free presidential elections in 1987.
Mr. Yoon will replace President Moon Jae-in, a progressive leader whose single five-year term ends in May.
The election was widely seen as a referendum on Mr. Moon’s government. Its failure to curb skyrocketing housing prices angered voters. So did #MeToo and corruption scandals involving Mr. Moon’s political allies, as well as a lack of progress in rolling back North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
“This was not an election for the future but an election looking back to judge the Moon administration,” said Prof. Ahn Byong-jin, a political scientist at Kyung Hee University in Seoul. “By electing Yoon, people wanted to punish Moon’s government they deemed incompetent and hypocritical and to demand a fairer society.”
But, as the close results showed, the electorate was closely divided, with many voters lamenting a choice between “unlikables.”
Mr. Yoon’s opponent, Lee Jae-myung of the governing Democratic Party, acknowledged his country’s rifts in his concession speech. “I sincerely ask the president-elect to lead the country over the divide and conflict and open an era of unity and harmony,” he said.
The victory for Mr. Yoon, who is 61, returns conservatives back to power after five years in the political wilderness. His People Power Party had been in disarray following the impeachment of its leader, President Park Geun-hye, whom Mr. Yoon helped convict and imprison on corruption charges. Mr. Yoon, who also went after another former president and the head of Samsung, was recruited by the party to engineer a conservative revival.
The election was watched closely by both South Korea’s neighbors and the United States government. Mr. Yoon’s election might upend the current president’s progressive agenda, especially his policy of seeking dialogue and peace with North Korea. As president, Mr. Moon has met with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, three times, though that did nothing to stop Mr. Kim from rapidly expanding his nuclear weapons program.
Mr. Yoon has vehemently criticized Mr. Moon’s approach on North Korea, as well as toward China.
He insists that U.N. sanctions should be enforced until North Korea is completely denuclearized, a stance that aligns more closely with Washington’s than with Mr. Moon’s, and is anathema to North Korea. Mr. Yoon has also called for ratcheting up joint military drills between South Korea and the United States — which were scaled down under Mr. Moon — another stance likely to rile North Korea, which may now raise tensions through more weapons tests.
“Peace is meaningless unless it is backed by power,” Mr. Yoon said during the campaign. “War can be avoided only when we acquire an ability to launch pre-emptive strikes and show our willingness to use them.”
Mr. Moon has kept a balance between the United States, South Korea’s most important ally, and China, its biggest trading partner — an approach known as “strategic ambiguity.” Mr. Yoon said he would show “strategic clarity,” and favor Washington. He called the rivalry between the two great powers “a contest between liberalism and authoritarianism.”
North Korea will likely pose Mr. Yoon’s first foreign policy crisis.
It has conducted a flurry of missile tests this year and might consider Mr. Yoon’s confrontational rhetoric the prod it needs to escalate tensions further.
“We will see North Korea return to a power-for-power standoff, at least in the early part of Yoon’s term,” said Lee Byong-chul, a North Korea expert at Kyungnam University’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Seoul.
Mr. Yoon served as prosecutor general under Mr. Moon. His political stock rose among conservative South Koreans when he resigned last year and became a bitter critic of his former boss. Pre-election surveys had indicated that South Koreans would vote for Mr. Yoon less because they liked him than to show their anger at Mr. Moon and his Democratic Party.
“This was such a hot and heated race,’’ Mr. Yoon told a gathering of supporters at the National Assembly Library. “But the competition is over and now it’s time for us to join our forces together for the people and the nation.”
His election comes as South Korea is projecting influence around the world as never before. The small nation of 52 million people has long punched above its weight in manufacturing and technology, but more recently has added film, television and music to its list of successful global exports.
At home, however, voters are deeply unhappy.
Home prices are out of reach. The country has one of the world’s lowest birthrates, with the population falling for the first time on record in 2021 as economic uncertainty makes young people reluctant to marry or have children. Legions of people fresh out of college complain about a lack of job opportunities, often accusing older generations of hanging onto their jobs. And both anti-immigrant and anti-feminist sentiment are on the rise.
The deepening uncertainty, made worse by two years of Covid restrictions, has left many, especially young people, anxious about the future.
“We are the betrayed generation,” said Kim Go-eun, 31, who works for a convenience store chain. “We have been taught that if we studied and worked hard, we would have a decent job and economically stable life. None of that has come true.
“No matter how hard we try, we don’t see a chance to join the middle class,” she said.
The campaign also exposed a nation deeply divided over gender conflicts. Mr. Yoon was accused of pandering to widespread sentiment against China and against feminists among young men, whose support proved crucial to his victory. Exit polls showed the voters in their 20s split sharply along the gender line, with men favoring Mr. Yoon and women Mr. Lee.
Young men said they were gravitating toward Mr. Yoon because he spoke to some of their deepest concerns, like the fear that an influx of immigrants and a growing feminist movement would further erode their job opportunities. Professor Ahn likened the phenomenon to “Trumpism.”
“We may not be completely satisfied with Yoon, but he is the only hope we’ve got,” said Kim Seong-heon, 26, a university student in Seoul who lives in a windowless room barely big enough to squeeze in a bed and closet.
Mr. Yoon promised deregulation to spur investment. He also promised 2.5 million new homes to make housing more affordable.
But the newly elected president may face fierce resistance at the National Assembly, where Mr. Moon’s Democratic Party holds a majority. Mr. Yoon’s campaign promise to abolish the country’s ministry of gender equality may prove particularly contentious.
He also has to contend with a bitter, disillusioned public.
New allegations of legal and ethical misconduct emerged almost daily to cast doubt on Mr. Yoon and his wife, Kim Keon-hee, as well as on his rival, Mr. Lee.
Many voters felt they were left with an unappealing choice.
“It was not about whom you liked better but about whom you hated less,” said Jeong Sang-min, 35, a logistics official at an international apparel company.
1. [+609, -30]
Please build a normal country
2. [+541, -29]
This was not a victory for the Conservatives. It stems from the disappointment with the Moon administration. Don’t rejoice or show your keenness too much. People’s hearts are very bitter right now. Please, I hope you can lead the country well.
3. [+458, -27]
Elected candidate Yoon, you didn’t get elected because you were good or did anything worthwhile. You can tell just by looking at the results, but you need to realize how difficult the decision was made by the majority of the people. The people who voted for you are so tired of the current Democratic administration that they chose to hold on to even a glimmer of hope. Doesn’t this result prove it? It means that you were elected because they hated the state of the current government, which was unable to keep a single seat even after securing 180 seats and filled their stomachs. The Conservative’s victory…? You didn’t win. The people are the ones who are giving you the opportunity to restore the country back to normal, it’s not a victory.
3. [+226, -29]
Congratulations. I hope you keep your promises and become a respected president.
4. [+132, -20]
The corruption of the pre-election should be thoroughly investigated. Reorganize the judiciary system to restore the broken laws!
5. [+138, -100]
Now that you have become president, you must investigate the stock price manipulation done by your wife and mother-in-law. Get a special inspection in Daejang-dong, and justly reveal the Sewol Ferry truth and lower housing prices. I heard you’re for justice. I hope you do it properly. Anyways, today, I hate my country. And you’re representing it.
[naver] LEE JAEMYUNG, ACCEPTS DEFEAT… “I WILL TAKE RESPONSIBILITY OVER EVERYTHING
Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung said on the 10th, “It’s all because of my shortcomings. It’s neither your defeat nor the Democrats’ defeat. All responsibility rests solely with me.”
At 3:47 am on the same day, he held a press conference at the Democratic Party of Korea in Yeouido, Seoul, and said, “I did my best, but I did not live up to expectations.” “Congratulations to Candidate Yoon. I earnestly ask that the elected president usher in an era of unity and harmony beyond division and conflict.”
“I still believe in our people,” Lee said. “Our people were great,” he said. “As long as you are there, Korea will keep moving forward,” he added.
1. [+1,376, -347]
That happens too… Our country still has a long way to go to become an advanced country… We will keep accepting these freaking apologies, we’re indeed freaking pigs..
2. [+1050, -190]
The way to ruin a nation is to choose the person who destroys the nation as the leader and follow the path foolishly. The expected collective intelligence turned out to be too weak, and the lower classes could not even discern who was for them, so they gave up all their power to the establishment again. It’s deplorable. If you call a country a country who elects a pig wearing a human’s mask as president… There will truly be no more nights where I will be able to rest peacefully
3. [+668, -214]
We really voted Yoon Suk-yeol ..ㅋㅋ this will become a mess
4. [+558, -292]
Opening the hell gate
5. [+210, -29]
He did well. At this point, we can expect greater progress only when we have been properly subjected to the own consequences of our actions. I think it will be a good thing for the next presidential election and the general election that will precede it. Sometimes shock therapy is needed. Anyway, congratulations on your election to Mr. Yoon, but the joy won’t last long. Since the pain will hit us two-three times harder, Let’s start our conversation, conscious voters.
[teens stories] NO BUT IS IT A SIN TO VOTE FOR YOON SUK-YEOL?
I’m in my 3rd year of high school so I don’t have the right to vote
But on Pann, everyone treats every celebrity who vote for Yoon Suk-yeol like some kind of criminal;;
Do you think that people really vote for based on the candidates’ election promises? Of course they only vote based on their political party…
Do you think that 70% Daegu or Busan all voted wrong?
People will just vote based on what will benefit themselves
If Seoul and Gwanju vote Democratic, they are also voting on what will benefit them.
Maybe less than 10% of the voters actually vote based on the qualifications of Lee Jae-myung or Yoon Suk-yeol as president.
Whether people vote for Lee Jae-myung or Yoon Suk-yeol, people can do whatever they want with their vote
So why are we people-blaming? I don’t really understand
1. [+347, -49]
They are just f*ckers. Cursing at others who don’t have the same view as you… f*ck, is this communism?
2. [+236, -150]
Even during the 19th presidential election (T/N: when Park Geunhye was elected), people cursed at Daegu so much. But when Moon was elected, the country was almost on the brink of collapseㅋㅋㅋㅋThey are all more or less the same but when it came to election pledges, I liked Yoon more so I voted for Yoon
3. [+147, -29]
Don’t people vote based on who they think will lead the country better?ㅋㅋ
4. [+90, -60]
Yup it’s criminal… just try to live the next 5 f*cked up years…
5. [+57, -52]
Yup, Hannams should go back to FMKorea