≡ Menu

Korea gets its first woman president

Moon Jae-in is conceding, which means Park Geun-hye is the president-elect.

UPDATES

- The Asia Gyeongje is pointing to three major reasons for Moon’s defeat:

1) The DUP couldn’t answer why voters should vote for Moon. They ran against Park, not for Moon. Hard to pick up centrists and independent voters like that.

2) Moon Jae-in’s campaign team was a disaster.

3) Tepid support from Ahn Cheol-soo.

- Yonhap notes that not only is Park the first woman president, she’s the first presidential candidate to get over 50% of the vote. This is largely thanks to the absence of any popular third-party candidates.

- Unless you live in the Honam region or Seoul, you voted for Park Geun-hye.

- According to exit polling data, women broke slightly for Park Geun-hye, while men broke slightly for Moon Jae-in. Voters 50 or over broke for Park (with voters over 60 heavily breaking for Park), while voters under 50 went for Moon.

- Not to pile on, but the SNP won the Gyeongnam gubernatorial race (not surprising, considering the opponent), and conservative Moon Yong-lin wil be the next Seoul education chief.

- The Hani notes that the surprising result of this election—with a conservative winning despite high voter turnout—might reflect changes in Korea’s demographics, which is to say, there’s a lot more older voters now.

- Enjoying a nice Chilean cabernet as I go through the post-game analysis. Wife is watching “Upside Down.” Saw “Dredd” earlier this evening. Not a bad film, even in 2D.

- Yonhap has a good summary of how the Gyeongnam gubernatorial race went down.

- Teachers, break out your “love sticks”—the new Seoul education chief is already talking about changing the students human rights ordinance, blamed by conservatives for making classrooms unmanageable.

UPDATE

The sun still rose this morning. Well, that’s promising.

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • Sanshinseon

    Korea’s first official and really-ruling woman sovereign top-leader in 1360 years — since Queen Jindeok d. 653 — that’s something.  That ought to be a leading theme on international news, one would think…

  • Jang

    Let’s see, her mother was killed and then her father was assassinated as well right?  If I were her, I’d stay underground.

  • dlbarch

    As someone who never warmed to Ahn’s, er, pre-diabetic charm, I’d love to pile on and lay a big chunk of the blame for Moon’s loss at the bovine’s feet, but this election was Moon’s to win or lose. he was the candidate, he controlled the message, and his loss is his loss.

    Ahn may have been a prima donna, but Moon and the DUP (1) clearly and utterly misinterpreted the election of Park Won Soon as sounding a (premature) death knell for the conservatives and (2) learned little if nothing from their parliamentary defeat in the National Assembly elections.

    Moon was and is the better candidate, but not the better campaigner.

    DLB

  • Creo69

    4) Korean women sick of living in the dark ages..

    Wonderful news! She could accomplish absolutely nothing and her presidency would still be a success and blessing for South Korea.

  • Cm

     There is some truth to this.  She’s an extremely hated figure due to her father.  Some wacko may take it upon himself to get rid of the “dictatorship”.

  • toak

    Well that is the positive spin on this election. That she’s a woman in charge, that is. 

    I’m just thinking of presidential elections I’ve followed and how they would play out if we only knew who the candidates would be weeks before. The petty infighting and lack of any real strategy for winning except for ‘well people hate saenuri, right?’ is baffling enough, and would make even the silliest conservative candidate look solid, safe. 

  • Wedge1

    Every elder Korean I’ve ever talked to liked her father and supports her.  The codgers will be celebrating.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    Do you think Koreans like their sense of order and may even be more prone to hereditary dictatorships?

  • YangachiBastardo

    Well congrats, country would do ok no matter what notary is in charge anyway

  • Cloudfive

     I guess Arirang news didn’t cover the election of George W, the son of George HW.

  • gumiho

    My wife is just a few years younger than her. Even though she has not lived in Korea for 42 years, she’s just as pleased as can be today, glued to the DirectTV, watching the election news, and purring with delight.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    I never saw 41 as a dictatorial strongman.

  • YangachiBastardo

    Lots of countries where women still live in the dark ages had a woman President (Sri-Lanka, India, Pakistan, a few places in Africa etc.) i doubt this will change anything.

    Also i find  gender equality rankings interesting: if i’m correct the US placed 22nd and Korea and Japan well out of the top 100 in one recent survey, behind places like Nicaragua and Cuba.

    Now i really wonder (and i’m not being sarcastic at all here) if it’s better to be a gal in the US or Korea and enjoy a significantly smaller slice of a big pie or in Nicaragua and have an equal stake in a society where thug squads and death by preventable diseases are an every day reality 

  • jk641

    Congratulations to President-elect Park!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hankin/1037654521 Richard Hankin

    “the codgers will be celebrating”
    Gumiho’s wife may remember this.
    When one went to the movies in THOSE days before the movie would start, they would have an intro of trains and bridges and the effect of Saemaul etc. and they would play the song “arirang” EVERY Korean would stand.
    Silly, propaganda, BS..perhaps…but Korea was a country just making it out of war and poverty and it needed “pride”. pride in what it HAD accomplished and what it WOULD accomplish and for good or ILL, Park Chung Hee was the face of that pride.
    And the young Koreans today should kiss the feet of those “old codgers” for the sacrifices they made for the generations that followed.,

  • bballi

    PGH, basically a puppet controlled by Daddy’s cronies. Construction firms, politicians and corruption, queue the housing bubble….

  • YangachiBastardo

    Well welcome to modern politics in “developed” countries: a bunch of big ticket (RE, defense etc.)  cronies aka the conservatives vs a bunch of cronies making money selling shit to petulant plebs aka the liberals, both of ‘em very eager to charge the next  generation CC…we have seen a good example of this last November, pick your poison 

  • Anonymous_Joe

    Now i really wonder (and i’m not being sarcastic at all here) if it’s better to be a gal in the US or Korea and enjoy a significantly smaller slice of a big pie or in Nicaragua ….

    Can you elaborate further?  And I mean the parts that can’t be explained by the concept of division of labor.

  • Owenrathbone

    About 10 years ago I said she would be president one day. Orackkay said I was wrong. Guess not. Yours, Owen Rathbone

  • gumiho

    My wife keeps hollering at the TV election returns, and saying how young people have absolutely no idea of how tough life in Korea was before PCH. She was just telling me how people used to come to her mothers house, and get the water that rice was washed in, to make a soup with. There isn’t hardly a plant,leaf,root or weed that she doen’t say “We used to eat that”

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.koehler.98 Robert Koehler

    There isn’t hardly a plant,leaf,root or weed that she doen’t say “We used to eat that”

    “Used to”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.koehler.98 Robert Koehler

    On a more serious note, I’m sure younger voters have less of an appreciation of the hardships of pre-PCH Korea. They didn’t live it, after all. That said, this is the 21st century, and Korea is a very different country than the one PGH’s father ran. We’ll soon see if she’s got what it takes to lead it successfully.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.koehler.98 Robert Koehler

    It’s been a while, Owen. I hope things are well.

  • dlbarch

    Hear, hear!

    I used to (and still do) tease my Korean-American friends (most of whom were not born in Korea and have never lived, studied, or worked there, and who speak little or no Korean) that “if you weren’t beaten by your father, beaten by your teachers, and beaten by your drill instructor, then you’ve never really experienced Korea, and certainly not the Korea of your father’s generation.”

    So, yeah, some generational perspective is definitely in order.

    DLB

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    So the problem with Korean politics could be said that the Korean life expectancy is too high.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    Why? Because nobody who had to eat tree bark would appreciat this sort of nonsense

  • gumiho

    No reading Korean,I assume that link is about Chun Do Hwan and Kwangju? Rather suprisingly, even though my wife is a big supporter of PGH, her own brother vanished without a trace in the Kwangju uprising.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    Not just.
    You should play the youtube video it’s linked to (the first picture) with the sound on –  it’s pretty self explanatory – it’s the whole history of democracy in Korea- starring “Lee Seungman”, ” Takaki Masao”, “29 Manwon and his friend”, and 2MB.

  • Cm

     We still do that (make soup out of water that rice was washed in), and we’re not poor.  The rice water gives it a richer flavor to the soup.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    At any rate, unlike all we see around the reason I could not support Park was not so much because she is a legacy of a dictator, she is her own person and should be judged on her own merit.

    However, based on what I have seen of her, even going back to when she lost her party nomination to 2MB, she comes across as a bit of an airhead, first-lady type (more Laura Bush/Lee Soonja and less Hilary) - a bobblehead kind of figure, who lived her life in a bubble of parallel universe. These people who don’t have a clear head on their shoulders tend to be dangerous and can invite disasters to happen on a national scale.

  • Lolwut420

    Pretty sure they have been beaten before. Being an American citizen does not spare you from beatings from a hard ass Asian father. As a KA, I would know.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dcmusicfreak DC Musicfreak

    South Korea, North Korea, Japan and (considering the power princelings, including Xi Jinping) are all under hereditary rulers. 

  • CalendarCalligraphy

    I don’t understand how people think that only young, ungrateful voters support Moon and the DUP. That’s silly. There are plenty of people who have suffered a whole lot during the Korean War, after the Korean War and under various regimes that wanted Moon to win. Including an entire side of my family, who really did experience how bad things were back then, suffered a lot, and then worked hard to provide a better life for the younger generations.

  • pawikirogii 석아

    오늘은 좋은날!

  • gumiho

    Back then, these were people that didn’t have any rice to wash at all. My wife, and her war-widowed mother were comparatively well off, as she owned rice fields that sharecroppers farmed for her. Periodically, my wife gets nostalgic for her childhood, and tries to cook one of these unlikely things she used to eat, like Forsythia flowers, but it never turns out to taste as good as it did back then.
      She has never gotten over the experience of seeing real hunger close-up. Our whole 6-acre place is a Korean farm-the yard around the house is filled with over 100 Korean pear trees, and every other corner of our land is filled with any Korean food plant you can name, that we painstakingly dug up from elsewhere and transplanted here. There’s barrels of kimchi buried in the backyard, ropes of radish tops drying in the barn, and basketfulls of dried red peppers in the basement. One room is full of boxes of things we’ve dried in the sun. There is no purely ornamental plant anywhere on our place.

  • YangachiBastardo

    You’re one lucky man who married an awesome woman 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6KFMIOLXZTCWEEJ3GF3YIAZIJ4 mightymouse

    Congrats to Park. However I don’t expect much from her presidency. 

  • Lorne Oliver

    Personally I am in favour of PGH over MJI because I find the left to be too lenient with regards to the North. In any case, Roboseyo has posted up something about PGH that I think needs to be read: http://roboseyo.blogspot.com/2012/12/how-park-geun-hye-can-revitalize-koreas.html

  • http://profiles.google.com/dcmusicfreak DC Musicfreak

    Sounds like a cool life you’ve set up in Korea.

  • dlbarch

    Duuuuude, don’t forget Queen Seondeok and Queen Jinseong (Silla), Queen Dowager Honae (Koryo), and Queen Min and Queen Yun (Yi dynasty).

    DLB

  • gumiho

    We were rather suprised to see the old-time singer Lee Mi Ja up on the podium next to PGH-she had a number of her songs banned by PCH back in the day.

  • YangachiBastardo

    Meat Loaf campaigned for Romney and Alice Cooper is a Palin supporter…i lean more on the conservative side of the spectrum but still i believe there are very few characters douchier than aging rock stars going right wing 

  • http://www.facebook.com/gojaejin Jeremy J. Goard

    “Do you think Koreans like their sense of order and may even be more prone to hereditary dictatorships?”

    You mean, like the country whose last presidents were Bush-Clinton-Bush,and whose next presidential election is largely expected to be Clinton vs. Bush?

  • KWillets

    Entertainers had high status under PCH, even if they had to bear the occasional ban or KCIA interrogation, or kidnapping by KJI.  

  • RElgin

    The New York Times article Title is interesting since they take a historic view:

    Dictator’s Daughter Wins in S. Korea

    It seems my private population sample was correct again.  I am still surprised at their record.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    Congrats to Miss Park. It’s nice to know the country is in less dangerous hands for the next five years to come. 

  • Creo69

    Currently there are mass protests in India over the rape of women….the fact that they can protest is a VERY signifigant change. The fact that Korean women and Korean female children have an elevated sense of self esteem as the result of this election is also a VERY signifigant change which South Korea will benefit from down the road.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    You mean, like the country whose last presidents were Bush-Clinton-Bush,and whose next presidential election is largely expected to be Clinton vs. Bush?

    Do you think George H.W. Bush (41) was a dictator?  Because if so, he really sucked at it.  As far as Clinton vs. Bush, you shouldn’t largely expect it.  

  • roboseyo

    thanks for the fist-bump, Lorne.

  • gumiho

    I’m not in Korea-I’m in Michigan.

  • RElgin

    Korean women are the tops; I have more female friends than men and it’s all good.

  • nayacasey

    Roboseyo offers great analysis and history. He does offer some good reasons, but let’s look at the downside.

    1) Naturally, getting rid of the National Security Laws and government control of the media would lead to a tremendous backlash from the people who voted for her. Those supporters could honestly say that she had double-crossed them because she never stressed (or even mentioned?) those policies during the campaign or during any of her time in the National Assembly. It could, temporarily, get rid of the “dictator’s daughter” label, but it seems she would lose a lot more with former supporters coming up with their own labels for her.

    2) Robert K mentioned in a different message Nixon’s “Silent Majority” speech. In this case, Roboseyo is suggesting the “only Nixon could go to China” approach. I don’t deny it can be useful, but let’s remember that Nixon was still hated by Democrats despite a host of policies and new government programs that Democrats said they loved–they still hated the dancer although he was dancing to their tune.

    3) Significantly–Is Park in favor of the things Roboseyo is suggesting? If she is, then, okay, she should do it. But why should she support policies she doesn’t really support in order to try to appease people who won’t be appeased until she resigns (in disgrace), is behind bars or worse?

    4) Based on what I do know, Koreans tend to be skeptical of everything politicians do, even the ones they support. So Park’s strategy would be seen exactly for what Roboseyo is suggesting–a political ploy to undercut arguments from opponents but not a policy she really supported. Some thoughtful progressives may praise her, but I suspect that the attack dogs would still be barking at her 24/7.

    5) Now, let’s say she does pull the rug from under her opponents with the strategy. Then the first time there is a (real or perceived) threat to national security, her supporters (many of them then perhaps former) would start beating her up. If she backtracks even a little–then she’d be a dictator again to her leftist opponents who would be saying she never meant it or had found a “secret” way to still enforce those laws all along, and probably that she had even cooked up the threat just so she could roll back the national security laws.

    6) In conclusion, this is another example of the NayaCasey Theory of Politics: “If you want something done politically, vote
    for the candidate you disagree with.” That’s because so many
    politicians do exactly what Roboseyo is suggesting. They try to do something
    to appease opponents, with the result being that they don’t get new
    support, their hard-core opponents concede nothing (yeah, it’s about time you did something sensible, but you are still a criminal), they upset supporters who can justifiably say the politician lied to them, and they end
    up implementing policies they don’t really agree with.

  • Koreandumbdumb

     I am Baduk aka RolyPoly.   Sorry about terribly wrong about the presidential election.   Busan, GyungSang 80% PGH?  Who would have thunk?  Just crazy.  I thought only Jolla Commies have axe to grind.   Korea is already split into two irreconcilable factions.  Silla and Baekjae.  I thought Koreans were better than that.   I was wrong.    Very dark days ahead.   The country split into two.   Would PGH hold it together?  Ominous.   When I was growing up, I heard again and again “when a chick crows like a rooster, Korea will disappear”.   Just supports my scenario about Korea disappearing after the China-Japan war.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    I am glad, though, that PGH won.   She is pro-Japan while Moon is pro-China.   Korea has to stay neutral about this upcoming China-Japan conflict.   Koreans, by nature, are close to China than Japan.   Having a president with pro-Monkeys will be better than one with pro-Commie and pro-Chink.  So, I welcome PGH.  But I worry how she, with her legacy, maintain fairness when her cronies are just dirty little pigs (Republicans?) who take advantage of the poor and the weak.   Dictatoress and her seven dwarfs.   Celebration!.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    Roboseyo offers great analysis and history, but let’s look at the downside.
    1) Naturally, Park getting rid of the National Security Law and government control of the media would lead to a tremendous backlash from the people who voted for her. Those supporters could honestly say that she had double-crossed them because she never stressed (or even mentioned?) those policies during the campaign or during any of her time in the National Assembly. It could, temporarily, get rid of the “dictator’s daughter” label, but it seems she would lose a lot more with former supporters coming up with their own labels for her.

    This is stunning to me.  Korean backlash for getting rid of the National Security Law and government control of the media?  PGH’s supporters (by which I mean the great unwashed masses) are screaming to be muzzled?  “We beseech, you please, please take away our freedom of speech!”
    Everyday I wonder what did I get myself into.