Moon’s party wins majority in general election

Apr 16, 2020, 04:09 am

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Lee Hae-chan (2nd from right), chief of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), and officials from its sister Platform Party put "victory stickers" on the names of their candidates at the National Assembly in Seoul on April 15, 2020./ Source: Yonhap

By AsiaToday reporter Lim Yoo-jin 

Voters chose to support the government’s efforts to overcome the Covid-19 crisis. As of 4:00 a.m., when 95.4 percent of the votes had been counted, the ruling Democratic Party (DP) had secured a majority of the slots for the first time in 16 years. The DP’s landslide victory will enable Moon to manage state affairs stably during the rest of his single, five-year term, and help him avoid becoming an early lame duck. 

The main opposition United Future Party (UFP) had stressed the need to judge the government, citing what it called policy failures to prop up the economy. However, as the coronavirus pandemic has become a natural disaster, the people chose to support the ruling party to ensure the government’s stable management of state affairs instead of judging the government. As of 4:00 a.m., the ruling DP has taken the lead in 162 constituencies across the nation, according to the National Election Commission (NEC), the state election watchdog. If combined with potential PR seats to be distributed to the Platform Party, the ruling bloc is expected to secure around 179 parliamentary seats. The main opposition United Future Party (UFP) and its satellite party Future Korea Party (FKP) are expected to secure around 102 seats in total, with the UFP winning in 85 districts and the FKP securing 17 slots. The wider liberal bloc, including several minor parties, is expected to secure at least 180 seats.

The DP, which had handed over 23 out of 28 seats to the People’s Party in Honam region in the 20th general election, was able to fully restore its traditional support base through this general election. With its landslide victory, the DP will be able to pass most bills in the 21st National Assembly despite objections from the main opposition party. If it maintains a majority in house, it will be able to occupy major positions in the assembly, including the chairman post. 

The future steps of Lee Nak-yon also draw attention. Lee was Moon Jae-in’s first prime minister. With his victory in Seoul’s Jongno, a symbolic constituency in Korean politics, against Hwang Kyo-ahn, Lee has become the biggest beneficiary of this election. He has taken one step forward as potential presidential contender. 

Meanwhile, the conservative UFP defeated in the general election, widely seen as a referendum on President Moon Jae-in, though it highlighted the government’s failure to prop up the economy and stressed the need to keep the DP in check. The party’s candidate nomination committee head Kim Hyong-o’s personal nomination controversy and some of its candidates’ reckless remarks have become decisive causes of the defeat. The party’s failure to show its vision as an alternative force to overcome the coronavirus crisis is also considered one of reasons for the defeat. 

The ruling party’s unprecedented victory will likely to place the opposition on high alert. UFP chairman Hwang announced that he will step down from the party post to take responsibility for his party’s defeat. 

#general election #Democratic Party #landslide victory #Moon Jae-in #coronavirus 
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