Elections reveal shape of South Korean politics

2024.04.12 10:41:01 | 2024.04.12 10:42:31

[Graphics by Song Ji-yoon]이미지 확대

[Graphics by Song Ji-yoon]

The legislative elections that took place in South Korea on April 10th, 2024, were another example of the persistent challenges in South Korean politics. With a heavily reliance on decades-long regional divides, several candidates even won seats despite accusations of misconduct. The so-called third centrist voices fell short of expectations, with fewer seats taken by smaller opposition parties.

The Democratic Party of Korea, the largest opposition party, won all 28 seats in the Honam region consisting of Gwangju, South Jeolla Province, and North Jeolla Province, all of which are liberal. Despite expectations that the ruling People Power Party (PPP) would win some seats in the liberal-led regions, the party’s candidates lost to their rivals. However, the ruling party dominated their support base by winning all 25 seats in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, where conservatives have long outnumbered liberals.

Several candidates, including Democratic Party‘s Kim Jun-hyuck, won despite irregularities and offensive language in their campaigns.

Candidates from the Rebuilding Korea Party, a brand-new party founded by former Minister of Justice Cho Kuk, won 12 seats via proportional representation. But their success raised concerns about the party’s reliability as several candidates, including the founder himself, faced investigations into their alleged misconduct. The Green-Justice Party, one of the smaller opposition parties, won no seats at all.

Korean political parties should go beyond the stark conservative-liberal divide, and focus on reliable policies as well as the candidates’ integrity, to help voters avoid regional or partisan affiliations.

By Editorial Team

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