Home Politics Yoon Suk-yeol faces tough challenges. He Is he up for the job? | Political news

Yoon Suk-yeol faces tough challenges. He Is he up for the job? | Political news

by YAR

South Korea’s new president knows he has his hands full.

Yoon Suk-yeol, 61, took office Tuesday warning of a world in crisis amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a growing nuclear threat from North Korea and intensifying competition between China and the United States. one, South Korea’s largest trading partner and the other. , your main ally in security.

War, disease, climate change, food and energy crises, he said, were wreaking havoc around the world, “casting a long dark shadow over us.”

At home in South Korea, he spoke of a “crisis of democracy” in the making, with unemployment and a widening gap between rich and poor fueling discord and leaving many without a sense of belonging or community.

But with characteristic bravado, Yoon told the crowd of 40,000 gathered for his inauguration on the lawn of the National Assembly in Seoul that “nothing was impossible.” She promised to tackle “multi-faceted and complex challenges” by championing “freedom”, “liberal democracy” and rapid economic growth.

However, obstacles abound for the new leader, mainly due to his low popularity and lack of political experience.

Yoon, a former chief prosecutor, ran on the ticket of the conservative People’s Power Party and won the March election by a 0.7 percent margin, the narrowest in South Korea’s democratic history. Analysts described him more as an “accidental president,” whom many South Koreans voted for in protest against his predecessor, Moon Jae-in, after the Democratic Party politician failed to deliver on key promises to tackle inequality and control housing. towering prices and negotiate peace with North Korea.

Moon, in fact, appointed Yoon as chief prosecutor after he gained fame for successfully prosecuting former conservative president Park Geun-hye on corruption charges. But the pair fell out after Yoon began targeting the then-president’s inner circle, including filing fraud charges against his Justice Minister Cho Kuk.

‘Mr clean’

Korea expert Kyung Hyun Kim says Yoon was “regarded as Mr. Clean” for prosecuting prominent businessmen and politicians from across the spectrum.

“It didn’t matter which administration was in power, whether it was from the left or from the right. Yoon pursued the corruption in the system. He has a history of seeking justice, no matter what the political cost may be,” said the professor of East Asian Studies at the University of California Irvine in the United States. “And in a society that is seen as largely unfair, where there are deep divisions between rich and poor, and where many ordinary people feel equal opportunity is not guaranteed, there is hope that it will bring justice to South Korea.”

But despite respect for Yoon’s tenacity as a prosecutor, the new president begins his only five-year term with historically low approval ratings. Only 55 percent of those polled in a recent Gallup Korea poll believe he will do well in office. By comparison, his predecessors had received about 80-90 percent before they began their presidencies.

Yoon’s low popularity, analysts say, partly reflects South Korea’s contentious politics, which is marked by deep divisions between conservatives and liberals, but also several of his own contentious policies, including a campaign promise to abolish the ministry. of gender equality in the country. Critics had condemned the pledge as a misogynistic ploy by Yoon, an outspoken “anti-feminist,” to exploit South Korea’s poisonous gender politics and attract votes from young men eager to lose ground to women.

The cabinet elections of the new president have also caused consternation.

His nominee for education minister, Kim In-chul, resigned last week amid accusations of misconduct, including claims that he used his influence as president of the Korea Fulbright Alumni Association to help his son and daughter obtain the prestigious Fulbright scholarships to study in the USA.

Yoon’s pick for health minister also faces similar accusations, while his justice minister candidate is under fire over media reports that his teenage daughter exaggerated her extracurricular activities to secure a place at university.

Controversy has also revolved around Yoon’s decision to move his office and residence from the Blue House compound in Seoul to the Ministry of Defense compound. The move could cost some 50 billion won ($41.14 million), and some Democratic Party officials say Yoon is being influenced by feng shui masters who believe the Blue House is inauspicious. The new president denies it.

Jaechun Kim, a professor of international relations at South Korea’s Sogang University, says Yoon’s choice of ministers, as well as his insistence on going ahead with the relocation of his residence, despite widespread criticism, have eroded your support.

“I really don’t have high hopes for Yoon’s presidency,” he said. “He is not a politician. He pretty much goes his own way. And he has no qualms about it. So I just hope he doesn’t make any serious mistakes. If he can bring back normality to South Korean society, politics and economy, after a disastrous presidency of Moon Jae-in, I will be happy.”

‘It lacks address’

Other analysts say Yoon, who has never held elected office, has yet to outline a clear vision of how he plans to tackle South Korea’s various challenges, including North Korean provocations and relations with China and the United States.

On the campaign trail, he signaled a hard line in Pyongyang by threatening a pre-emptive strike if there were any signs of an imminent attack. He also said that he would abandon Moon’s “strategic ambiguity” between the US and China in favor of Washington and join the Quad group of the US, Australia, Japan and India.

It has also pledged to buy an additional THAAD missile system from the US, something China has previously opposed, claiming the system’s powerful radar could penetrate its territory. The last time South Korea deployed THAAD five years ago, Beijing responded with unofficial sanctions, including ending Chinese tour group visits to South Korea and boycotts and bans on Korean-owned businesses in China.

Since winning the election, Yoon has backtracked on some of his earlier statements, offering North Korea a “bold” economic plan in his inaugural speech if it committed to denuclearization. Her cabinet picks have also said that “further study” is required before implementing an additional THAAD battery.

Some experts say Yoon needs to show consistency and clarify his policies.

“He lacks an exact direction in which he wants to take South Korea and its people,” said Hyung-A Kim, an associate professor of Korean politics and history at the Australian National University. “All previous presidents had a clear set of instructions, but with Yoon, we don’t know exactly.”

Others, however, say the nature of the challenges facing the new president will help refine his political priorities.

“Although Yoon Suk-yeol’s presidency is starting with many obstacles, I think the future is bright,” said Youngshik Bong, a research fellow at Yonsei University’s Institute of North Korea Studies.

“North Korea’s provocations and strategic competition between China and Russia, on the one hand, and the United States and other countries, on the other, will help clarify the political priorities for the new South Korean government… The challenges and the crisis may turn out to be strange friends for the new president of South Korea.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

The Float