Seoul, 7 March 2022 (TDI): The 2022 South Korean Presidential election is scheduled to be held on the 9th of March 2022 in South Korea. It will be the 8th Presidential election since its democratization under the South Korean constitution.

Yoon Suk-yeol

Yoon Suk-yeol is a South Korean attorney, politician, and former public prosecutor who served as Prosecutor General of South Korea from 2019 to 2021 under President Moon Jae-in.

Yoon is the nominee for the conservative People Power Party, the conservative-leaning and the current main opposition party, in the 2022 South Korean Presidential election. Yoon’s support comes mostly from opposing the incumbent government. Yoon’s strongest political hope is his young male voters in their twenties.

Yoon promised to abolish the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family and other anti-feminist signals. Conservatives have hardly learned from their maladministration from the previous government and continue to repeat outdated anti-communist and anti-feminist rhetoric.

Lee Jae-myung

Lee Jae-myung is a South Korean politician, author, and former civil rights lawyer. He served as the 35th Governor of Gyeonggi Province between 2018 and 2021. Lee is the nominee of the ruling Democratic Party in the 2022 South Korean Presidential election.

South Korean Presidential candidates for 2022 Election
South Korean Presidential candidates for 2022 Election (Photo credits: The Korea Times)
Constitution of the Republic of Korea

The constitution of the Republic of Korea or South Korea as is commonly known is the Supreme Law. It was promulgated on the 17th of July 1948 and last revised on the 29th of October 1987 regulated by the unitary Presidential Republic.

President is restricted to a single five-year term and ineligible to seek reelection either directly or indirectly. Geographically, South Korea finds itself squeezed among three titans; China, Japan, and Russia.

Domestic politics in South Korea

Whereas domestic politics is divided between progressive and conservative. The policymakers of South Korea have to navigate between domestic politics and the international rivalries, without assurance that has been given by the alliance with the United States.

South Korea will continue to avoid hard choices and hedge against both the negative effects of the Chinese rise and persisting uncertainties regarding the United States’s commitment.

The main two political parties in South Korea are the Liberal Domestic Party of Korea and the Democratic Party and the Conservative People Party formerly the United Future Party.

The Democratic Party and the Republican Party are the most powerful yet other parties such as the Reform, Liberation, Socialist, Natural law, the constitution can promote candidates in a Presidential election.

The Democratic Party has a Presidential candidate who resigned from his governorship in order to contest the Presidential election. Democratic Party is preaching for the philosophy of modern liberalization blending with the notion of civil liberty and social equities with support for a mixed economy.

The Democratic Party of Korea [DPK formerly the New Political Alliance for Democracy (NPAD)] was founded on the 26th of March 2014 as a merger of the diplomatic party and the preparatory committee of the new political vision party (NPVP).

People’s Power Party formerly known as the United Future Party is a conservative political party in South Korea. People Power Party was formed on the 17th February 2020 by the merger of the Liberty Korea Party, New Conservative Party, and several other political parties as well.

About South Korea

South Korea’s mighty manufacturing engine powered it to great heights in the last century. It spends a large percentage of its GDP on research and development. It took three quarters to regain pre-crisis level among Asia’s “tiger economy” in the production and consumption areas.

South Korean economy is stuck in the middle of advanced Japan and a rising China and it falls short of Japan on quality and can’t match China on price. South Korea is a developed country and ranked 7th on the human development index.

South Korea is bordered by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea) to the north, the east sea (sea of Japan) to the east, the China sea to the south, and the yellow sea to the west. It is separated from the Japanese island of Tsushima by the Korean strait.

The common language and especially race are viewed as the most important elements by South Korea in terms of identity more than citizenship. In August 1945 after World War 2, a Republic was set up in the southern half of the Korean peninsula.

In 1950-53 the United Nation forces and the United States intervened to help defend South Korea from North Korean attacks supported by the Chinese. The United States and South Korea have been allies under the 1953 mutual defense treaty.

Under the agreement, the United States military maintained a continuous presence in the Korean peninsula. International relations between South Korea and the United States helped to establish the modern state of South Korea.

Likewise, it fought on its United Nations-sponsored agenda of support in the Korean War (1950-53). During the subsequent four decades, South Korea experience tremendous growth in its economic, political, and military sectors.

The United States believed that with their intervention, China would avoid conflict and hope to take advantage of the USSR’s boycott of the United Nation so as to help South Korea with its military.

Every country needs to agree to formulate a grand strategy to function effectively. The Republic of Korea with the kind of their geographical and geopolitical placement has to limit itself to a harsh and soft strategy of power.

The division of the Korean peninsula made it really difficult to formulate a practical grand and super strategy. With the rejection of the grand strategy as a result of unanticipated needs and obstacles that arise South Korea may not have many choices in maintaining an alliance with the United States and actively engaging and cooperating with the rest of the world, and a balanced policy of assertiveness towards its neighbor.

The nature of South Korean strategy and the environment has constrained it to maneuver and has resulted in a huge dependency on the alliance of the United States. Even during South Korea’s period of democratization, external factions played an effective and important role in its foreign policy.

Political Legacy

Whoever becomes the President will inherit a huge political burden with a necessity of healing a society wrecked by divisions of gender generation and class. The foreign policy platforms of the two leading candidates in the upcoming Presidential elections are more alike and aligned than different.

This discussion on the South Korean election is not to predict who will enter the Blue House but rather an assessment of the current state of the future Korean democracy on how the Presidential election has unfolded so far.

A very timely issue like many countries in the world has definitely shown democratic decay in recent years. South Korea is going to witness the most contentious Presidential election as both candidates are fighting scandals and lack of public trust hence a difficult choice.

It has been noticed both Yoon and Lee’s support rates combined add up only about 70% split evenly between the candidates. Voters are not very enthusiastic about the upcoming elections.