CW: contains brief mentions of sexual violence
South Korea just held its election and it has been announced that Yoon Suk-yeol has won which may bring major changes to the nation and the region.
People Power Party’s candidate People Power Party won his contest with Lee Jae-myung of the Democratic Party to become the next president of South Korea. He will replace Democratic Party president Moon Jae-in. Yoon won the contest by a very thin margin and will no doubt be a controversial figure during his time in office.
Yoon has vowed to take a much harder line on North Korea than his predecessor. He will also likely take a much more favorable line in the direction of the US, at least according to his rhetoric. With North Korea already doing missile tests leading up to the elections and China attempting to garner more power and international attention during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this is quite likely to increase tension in the region.
Domestically this is also sure inflame divisions. The next president has said that he will increase the penalty for falsely reporting sex crimes. There is already a notoriously unjust system in Korea and these proposed moves are almost certain to push women even further away from reporting sexual crimes. Yoon has likewise vowed to disband the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, siting that it creates inequality against men.
Yoon has actively courted the vote of men’s rights activists in the country. This cadre seems to be growing in opposition to the growing calls for gender equality and a general disgust by many about the sexist nature of much of the society. The country has one of the highest gender pay gaps, often clocking at over a 30 percent disparity in many metrics. South Korea also has a serious issues with sexual violence and is embarrassingly behind the times for a “developed nation” especially in the time of #MeToo.
Yoon is sure to cause controversy, both because of his views, domestic and foreign, and due to the close margin of the election. What he actually accomplishes in office is yet to be seen. When he takes office on May 10th, we will see what he actually does.