D-Day: #Shigak no. 40

By | May 09, 2017 | No Comments

A rainy election day is bound to dampen turnout, but hopes are high that it will still beat the 75.8 percent recorded in 2012. As the banner urging people to vote makes clear, polls close at 8 PM in Korea. | Image: Steven Denney/Sino-NK

On April 2, Sino-NK began a series of regular analyses looking at the South Korean presidential election through the lens of the Korean-language media, reviving a series that ran from February 2014 to October 2015. “Shigak” (시각), or “perspective” uses Twitter to curate sources on the key determinants of the election outcome. Each issue takes the most important tweets posted by Sino-NK analysts under the #시각 hashtag and augments them with essential annotations and a bite-size dollop of concentrated analysis.

#Shigak is edited by Steven Denney and Christopher Green. Yongmin Lee is a regular contributor. Back issues can be found on the dedicated page. Importantly, users of Twitter are encouraged to adopt the hashtag and take part in the project.

D-Day: #Shigak no. 40

by Sino-NK

And now election day has arrived, the culmination of a campaign compressed into just sixty days. From the impeachment of Park Geun-hye to party primaries that saw Moon Jae-in, Ahn Cheol-soo, Yoo Seung-min and Hong Joon-pyo force their respective names onto the ballot, to the election of… well, we don’t know. It all happened in two months.

Who will win? If the polls are right, it will be the Minjoo Party candidate, Moon Jae-in. Moon’s victory, if it comes to pass, will bring the curtain down on ten years of conservative rule, but we won’t know the result for sure until the early morning of May 10 in Korea. One thing we do know is that Sino-NK has enjoyed the ride so much — and is confident that there will much be more to say in the new president’s first one hundred days — that we will continue #Shigak after the dust has settled. In the meantime, as the sun goes down over Gwanghwamun, there is nothing else to do but watch and wait.

After 22 days of campaigning, official presidential campaign activities are over and South Koreans have gone to the polls to choose their next president. If early voting is any indication, May 9 will see high voter turn out. On May 8, all major candidates held their final election rallies in Seoul, mostly focusing on the youth vote. As there is a ban on publishing polls from May 3 to May 9, some candidates are hoping to maintain a lead and others are hoping for an upset, but there is limited data to support either perspective.

The 19th president of the Republic of Korea will not have a 60-day transition period or transition team. Past presidents-elect usually had some time to prepare from election day until the official swearing in. He (or, if there is a truly major shock, she) will not have a large presidential ceremony as the new president will literally have to start the job the moment he or she is elected. The first one hundred days will be a baptism of fire. The new president will have to find common ground with other parties to push forward their bold electoral promises and get a cabinet confirmed. Foreign policy will be another tough challenge. The deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), rising American protectionism that threatens the KORUS FTA, and historical issues have all contributed in South Korea’s current foreign policy challenges with China, Japan and the US. Whoever is the next president of South Korea will have their work cut out for them.

Hong Joon-pyo (no. 2, in the red) has made a late push for the anti-communist, national security vote, hoping to parlay fears over North Korea into a victory over Moon Jae-in. | Image: Steven Denney/Sino-NK