Does Moon Jae-in’s Victory Ensure a Better Economic Reform for S.Korea?

Does Moon Jae-in’s Victory Ensure a Better Economic Reform for S.Korea? 

Last updated on May 19th, 2020

Recently held elections in South Korea amid the coronavirus pandemic resulted in a huge victory for the South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The polls for the 300-seat National Assembly were held under strict guidelines and stringent precautionary measures.

Moon’s landslide victory is his Democratic Party’s first majority win in 16 years which will strengthen his mandate for the second half of his five-year presidential tenure and will help in removing legislative restrictions that have halted the country’s progress since he first took office in 2017.

Despite the victory, analysts fear that Moon Jae-in might not be able to deliver an economic reform that the country needs or a substantial peace deal with North Korea.

“I was quite sure that the second half of this regime would pursue more drastic reform. Now everything is totally different . . . I don’t think they have enough time or the will to advocate for the reforms they initially promised to the people, the circumstances have changed so much,” said Jisoo Lee, a reform advocate and a former political candidate aligned with Moon.

In the past, Moon’s popularity went down the hill because of a slow economic growth and corruption allegations. However, amid the coronavirus outbreak Moon gathered immense appreciation from international countries over his response to the pandemic.

Apart from China, South Korea, too, was highly affected by the pandemic.  But the country’s response in tackling the crisis using mass testing, high-tech contact tracing and widespread social distancing brought in praise from across the globe.

A think-tank, International Crisis Group expert Duyeon Kim said, “This tells other world leaders that how they respond to their own crisis could make or break their political fortunes because the pandemic is at the top of everyone’s mind, most likely eclipsing other issues that would normally determine votes.”

Due to the pandemic, South Korea’s export-dependent economy has been hit by a downfall due to disruptions in technology and industrial manufacturers. Tech giant Samsung and automobile maker Hyundai have also been affected largely. The IMF has predicted the South Korean economy will shrink by 1.2 percent this year, down from an earlier forecast of 2.2 percent growth.

Moon Jae-in and his government would now largely be expected to balance the dwindling economy and the betterment of the South Koreans.

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