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Resurgent right could win South Korea's presidency

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Significance

The centre-left incumbent, Moon Jae-in, is more popular than most presidents at this stage in their term, but he cannot run again. The conservative opposition People Power Party (PPP) has elected a 36-year-old as its chairman, countering its old-fashioned image.

Impacts

  • The youth card is a new opportunity for the PPP, but playing up young men’s grievances will alienate young women.
  • North Korea will barely feature in the campaign; engaging Pyongyang, despite it rebuffing Moon’s outreach, is hardly a vote-winner.
  • Economic growth looks likely to be strong, which will benefit the DP.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over and will work against the DP if not reversed soon.
  • Any new administration will make some effort to mend ties with Tokyo; the PPP would likely try harder.

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