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South Korea’s Replacement for President

Elaine Moon ’18, Section editor

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South Korea had a particularly rough year last year. As the government’s corruption was revealed, Park Geun-Hye, a former president now, went through a process of impeachment for the first time in Korean history. On March 10, Seoul Central District Court made the decision based on the number of criminal charges including bribery, and ordered to arrest her.

Park’s poor management for the past four years have led to numerous unresolved issues and increased tensions in international relations. Thus, the Koreans paid more attention to the election that happened last week since they sought for a president who could handle these situations wisely and simultaneously cure the citizens’ wounded hearts and minds. The preliminary election was held from May 4 to 5, and the official election date was May 9. The voter turnout was 77.2 percent, which was 1.4 percent higher than the last election and was the highest in two decades.

Despite the particularly high number of candidates (fifteen), this year, Jae-in Moon won 41.1 percent of the votes and became the 19th president of South Korea. Jae-in Moon was a rival of  conservative Park Geun Hye in the 2012 election, but he was defeated by 13.6 percent. His revival and defeat of Joon-pyo Hong, a conservative candidate in the past election, by 17.1 percent indicate that the Koreans lean towards Democrats and favor Moon’s policies to proceed forwards as a unity.

Moon has been president for less than a week now, yet he announced various plans for his presidency and moved some of them into action already. Through his phone call with the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, Moon revealed his hostility to ‘Comfort Women’, an agreement that Park recently signed which accepted Japan’s demand to forget a significant part of history during Japan’s colonization of Korea in the 20th century. Moon also abolished state-issued history textbooks in his third day of presidency, stating, “history education should no longer be abused by political motives” through his spokesman, Yoon Young-chan, on Friday. He further announced his policies to soothe the growing tension with North Korea and also to bring changes to the international relations that have been stagnant for the past years.

Moon promises a new approach for the government and has been proving his value through his humble and honest attitude. He enjoyed lunch with workers in the Blue House, where the president lives, and went for a walk with his secretaries. His effort to communicate with the people in such ways surprised the citizens since they have never experienced it.

“I didn’t believe when people said Mr. Moon was coming to the cafeteria to have lunch with us,”  one worker in the Blue House said.

Moon’s policies to eliminate corruptions and improve communication with the people excite the Koreans as they hope for improvements of the country in the near future.

 

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The student news site of Peddie School
South Korea’s Replacement for President