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Are South Korea's Conservatives Back In the Game?

Added 04-21-21 05:34:04pm EST - “Stunning mayoral losses may bode ill for the liberals.” - Foreignpolicy.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Foreignpolicy.com: “Are South Korea’s Conservatives Back In the Game?”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

The Czech Republic’s kerfuffle over diplomats demonstrates the need to think bigger—and smaller—when it comes to responding to cyberattacks.

Argument: Are South Korea’s Conservatives Back In the Game? Are South Korea’s Conservatives Back In th...

After losing four national elections in a row since 2016, South Korea’s conservatives finally scored a major victory earlier this month: sweeping the by-elections for mayoral seats in South Korea’s two largest cities, Seoul and Busan, which together are home to a quarter of South Korea’s population. While the People Power Party, the main conservative opposition, was expected to win in Busan, the its Seoul mayor candidate Oh Se-hoon came from behind to defeat the ruling Democratic Party’s Park Young-sun in a staggering landslide, 57.5 percent to 39.2 percent. Oh carried all 25 districts of Seoul, including Park’s own Guro-gu.

The Seoul by-election has been widely seen as a referendum on the liberal Moon Jae-in administration, with potential implications for South Korea’s presidential election in 2022. While that analysis is true to a degree, it’s too narrow a focus. The Seoul mayoral by-election is an expression of a political trend that has been developing since the impeachment of conservative President Park Geun-hye in 2016-2017, in which conservatives have gradually regained their footing while liberals slowly leaked support. While South Korea’s liberals still maintain the upper hand, they now face a considerably smaller margin of error.

South Korea’s Democrats lost Seoul in the way Mike Campbell in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises went bankrupt: “Gradually, and then suddenly.” In 2016, leading up to Park’s impeachment, neither side was popular: The main conservative party (at the time called the Saenuri Party) had an approval rating in the high 30 percent range, while the main liberal opposition Democratic Party’s approval rating was only in the high 20s.

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