Korean Politics Odds and Ends – 9/21/2012

Another roundup from MH’s best political coverage.

  • Triple Trouble:  One of the cardinal rules of Korean politics — don’t celebrate too early. This rule apparently was lost on the NFP. Three current and former NFP Assembly members — Hong Sa-deok, Song Yeong-seon and Lee Jae-yeong — were either indicted or put under investigation for bribery charges in the last week. The cases of Hong and Song are particularly damaging to Park Geun-hye, as Hong is the co-chair of Park’s presidential campaign, and Song directly referenced Park’s name as she was asking for bribes.
  • The Dead Presidents:  The first official act of Ahn Cheol-soo as a presidential candidate was to visit the tombs of Rhee Syngman, Park Chung-hee and Kim Dae-jung. As a progressive-leaning politician, Ahn’s visit to Park’s grave was particularly meaningful. Afterwards, Ahn offered his view on the light and dark of the three former presidents on his Facebook page. Ahn called Rhee “another unfortunate president,” and vowed to learn from the past mistakes and the lessons of April 19 Protests. Ahn said Park laid the foundation of Korea’s industry, but privitized power beyond law and order. Kim, accordingly to Ahn, overcame the financial crisis, set the foundation for the welfare state and took the first step toward reconciliation with North Korea, but contributed toward the economic polarization of the country.
  • Bouncy Bounce:  Ahn enjoyed his own version of “convention bounce”. By announcing his candidacy, he immediately erased the double-digit lag between himself and Moon Jae-in. In a head-to-head match up with Park Geun-hye, Ahn pulled beyond the margin of error, 48.3% to 42.5%. Even Moon pulled ahead of Park beyond the margin of error in a head-to-head, 48.1% to 42.3%.
  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    N.B. for the post —

    Personally, I think PGH is in serious trouble. Her campaign has essentially hit the ceiling, i.e. she already attracted everyone she could attract. In contrast, Ahn and Moon are just getting started, and their numbers still have potential to grow. As Ahn and Moon go through the dance of unifying the ticket, they will take most of the attention when it comes to politics. If PGH’s camp wanted to attack Ahn, Moon will receive the bounce, and vice versa. With the election approximately 90 days away, ACS and MJI can double-team PGH all the way until the election is around 3-4 weeks away.

    At this point, it seems that PGH’s only hope is to run against the split ticket of ACS and MJI. But again, I am mindful of the cardinal lesson: don’t celebrate too early.

  • DLBarch


    Excellent post, as usual. But I think that OMN article has Moon over Park, 48.1 to 42.3, while Ahn is at 48.3 over Park’s 42.5.

    Either way, you are right: PGH is in trouble, which is a good thing, though I guess it’s too late for a Sohn comeback.


  • DLBarch

    BTW, as much as I generally trust the polling by RealMeter, the Asan daily tracking polls still show Park with a narrow lead over Ahn.


    We’ll all find out soon enough how sticky these numbers are.


  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    I think that OMN article has Moon over Park, 48.1 to 42.3, while Ahn is at 48.3 over Park’s 42.5.

    Indeed. Corrections made.

  • DLBarch

    One last (OK, probably not) thought:

    If Ahn does indeed wind up knocking off first Moon and then Park, he will have effectively pulled a Park Won-soon on a nationwide level.

    If so, would there still be any doubt as to Korean voters’ complete rejection of career politicians…and their party institutions…in favor of progressive independents in the two most important political offices in the land?


  • jkitchstk

    For Park’s a woman she has no chance to be president in S. Korea, simply put, she’s finished.

  • DLBarch

    Boy, talk about a couple of terrible predictions:

    “I assume that no one from the DUP is planning on visiting PCH’s grave anytime soon, or ever.”
    — Yours truly, August 28, MH thread entitled “Park Geun-hye visits Roh Moo-hyun’s grave.” (Though technically Ahn is not from the DUP.)

    “Ahn Cheol-soo can probably match that without putting on a show like this one.”

    — TK, the same thread.



  • cm

    Now here’s hoping they will dismantle the Chaebol and get rid of all the rich people. Then finally we will have equality and everyone is equally poor.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    Boy, talk about a couple of terrible predictions:

    I’d say our predictions were just fine. Ahn is not from DUP (he clearly bills himself as someone who is more moderate than DUP,) and my prediction was a conditional. :)

  • dokdoforever

    If Ahn is elected he’ll have one heck of a time trying to build coalitions in the NA to pass legislation. If Roh had trouble with his splinter party, Ahn will be in for an even rougher time.

    I wonder if these two (Moon and Ahn) will try to use the Prime Minister position as a pseudo- vice presidency, as a consolation prize for the runner up. (As KDJ wooed KJP).

    Moon’s name sounds kind of funny to me – like “person with a problem,” although that’s not a real word in Korean. Hopefully the two will find a way to settle their differences and avoid the two Kim’s scenario of 1988.

  • R. Elgin

    PGH would have a better time of it if too many of her party members were not such thieves that are unable to control their worst urges. Hanara has had more than enough time to remake itself but all they can manage to do is to change their name, which fools no one.


    They will lose because of reasons I have predicted in the past.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    DLB – remember what I said about the losing factions of the DUP jumping ship to ACS’s camp? It’s happening. Link