As with most presidential elections, South Korean voters predominantly voted their pocketbooks in Tuesday’s national election.
While the election featured the usual struggle between a conservative market-based growth strategy and liberal redistributionism, voters this time were driven in large part by a desire to end their nation’s endemic political corruption.
After 10 years of conservative presidency—South Korean presidents serve a single five-year term—it seemed a foregone conclusion this year that the pendulum would swing to a liberal candidate.
This natural trend was reinforced by the impeachment of conservative President Park Geun-hye, who abused her power by colluding with a friend to fleece the country’s large conglomerates.
Moon Jae-in, a left-of-center candidate, handily won the election. He previously served as chief of staff to President Roh Moo-hyun, whose term was marked by tense relations with Washington over policy differences on North Korea, as well as Roh’s demand for more autonomy in the alliance.
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