Are South Korea’s Conservatives Back In the Game?
[Foreign Policy S. NATHAN PARK] (중략) The Democrats followed up that win in April 2020 when they won a landslide victory in the general election that delivered 180 out of 300 seats in the National Assembly—a legislative supermajority never before seen in South Korea’s democratic history. Yet according to Jeong, this victory masked an important trend: Beginning in 2019, the conservatives started making up lost ground. In 2016, the conservative party was reduced to a third of its level of support pre-impeachment. By 2019, the conservative party recovered to two-thirds; not enough to win the election in a first-past-the-pole system, but nevertheless a significant gain. In the 2018 local elections, the nationwide gap between the liberals and conservatives was 17.4 percent; by the 2020 general election, the conservatives reduced the gap to 8.5 percent. In the conservative Busan area, the conservatives in fact overtook the Democrats, 52.8 percent to 44.1 percent.
Between 2020 and 2021, conservatives continued to narrow the gap, while the landslide win in the 2020 election lulled the liberals into complacency. The goodwill earned through the Moon administration’s achievements, such as leading the impeachment effort in 2017, improving relations with North Korea in 2018, and successfully combating COVID-19 in 2020, began to fade. (후략)