Well, I suppose for the ruling party, the local elections yesterday could have been much, much worse:
The 2014 local election did not produce a clear-cut winner as the Korean electorate remains sharply divided.
Still, President Park Geun-hye’s Saenuri Party has to be happy about the close result, considering the immense public anger that had risen over the government’s bungled emergency response to the sunken Sewol ferry. The ruling party was particularly inspired about victories in key regions such as Gyeonggi Province and Incheon, which left the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) ruing a missed opportunity to shift the balance of power in politics.
As the dust cleared after Wednesday’s vote, Saenuri came up with eight of the country’s 17 metropolitan mayor and governor posts with NPAD taking the remaining nine.
Yale grad and professional gadfly Nam Kyung-pil should be interesting to watch as Gyeonggi-do governor, especially if he starts squabbling with the mainstream of his party (not necessarily a bad thing), as he’s wont to do.
The SNP managed to squeak out a victory in the tight Busan mayoral race. Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, meanwhile, won reelection pretty handily…which, personally, is just fine with me, as I think he’s done a pretty good job of both running the city and refraining from commenting on non-city affairs.
Former Roh Moo-hyun bag man Ahn Hee-jung won reelection as governor of Chungcheongnam-do, too.
While the mayoral and gubernatorial races might have split, the left dominated the school superintendent races, including the Seoul race, where Cho Hi-yeon won a comfortable victory in a race where the conservative front-runner’s support collapsed almost overnight after his own daughter posted on Facebook an open letter to Seoul voters slamming her father for abandoning her and her brother.
Now, I’m no expert on public diplomacy, but you know what might help USFK more effectively make its case? Not having three drunk GIs sexually harass a female employee at a water park, assault a male employee trying to help and spit on and beat the arresting officers. Soon followed by another drunk serviceman stealing a cab, hot rodding down Gangnam-daero, hitting another car and assaulting the arresting officers.
To be fair, at least it appears USFK behaves better than East German troops in Poland.