Thursday, December 20, 2012

holy shit-- I was wrong: Park Geun-hye wins it

Conservative Park Geun-hye wins the Korean presidential election thanks to 76% voter turnout and a 3.6% lead over leftist rival Moon Jae-in. As Robert Koehler of the Marmot's Hole notes, South Korea gets its first woman president. Robert also observes that Park is the first candidate to garner over 50% of the vote: a majority, not merely a plurality.

It's interesting to see South Korea electing two conservative administrations in a row. After three left-leaning presidents (Kim Young-sam, Kim Dae-jung, Noh Mu-hyeon), I'd have thought the country would be more like France and would stick to the leftist game plan as much as possible (Sarkozy was definitely an aberration in the French public consciousness). If this election can be considered a referendum on the current president, Lee Myeong-bak, it may be that South Koreans don't hate the man as much as I'd thought.

I'm actually happy with the results. A conservative in office will mean (1) a greater tendency toward fiscal conservatism and an openness to international trade; (2) an uncomfortable environment for Korea's out-of-control unions; (3) the proper dynamic tension with North Korea, with fewer concessionary gestures from the South than there would have been under a leftist administration.

But when, Lord, when will South Korea elect its first black president?

ADDENDUM: Better political analysis at Aaron McKenzie's.


1 comment:

Kstylick said...

That is a very historical win. First ever female president of South Korea. I hope some traditional male politicians won't be too hard on her.