2022 South Korean Presidential Election

Faris Al-Fadhat

In a new Commentary for JCA, Faris Al-Fadhat of the Department of International Relations, Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Jin-Wook Choi of the Department of Public Administration, Korea University, The Republic of Korea look at the recent presidential election in South Korea.

Jin-Wook Choi

The abstract for “Insights from the 2022 South Korean Presidential Election: Polarisation, Fractured Politics, Inequality, and Constraints on Power” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2023.2164937) states:

This article investigates the outcomes and examines the implications of South Korea’s 2022 presidential election on the country’s domestic politics and economics, specifically regarding the new government’s exercise of executive power. While the 2022 election saw the return of the conservatives to power after five years of a progressive government, this article argues that the election won by Yoon Suk-yeol of the People Power Party reflects the growing polarised politics along partisan lines between conservatives and progressives – rooted in the contingency of class formation through the long-standing neo-liberal policy of the South Korean developmental state. Such political divide, which has taken place amid the broader context of the increasing polarising populism across developed and developing countries in recent years, constrains the Yoon administration from addressing domestic issues, notably economic woes such as ongoing income inequality, sluggish job creation, fluctuating housing prices, as well as corruption that links high-profile politicians and chaebol. Although power compromise with opponents is essential to cope with limitations, this article contends that it is less likely under the circumstances of severe political tensions between the ruling and opposition parties.

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