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National Assembly election comes to an end: What does this mean for Korea?

The National Assembly
The National Assembly

The results of the April 10 National Assembly elections demonstrated a heavily left-leaning victory, as voters delivered a rebuke to the party of conservative President Yoon Suk-Yeol. 

The main opposition Democratic Party and smaller allied forces won 189 seats within the 300-seat National Assembly, dominating 63% of the legislative body. This means the opposition was only 11 seats away from overriding Yoon’s legislative veto, proposed constitutional changes, and even impeachment of the president with a crucial two-thirds majority. 

The results will maintain the same basic dynamic that existed before the election — meaning opposition forces can continue to obstruct the domestic agenda of Yoon, who is two years into a single five-year presidential term. 

“Like many experts are saying, I too am expecting three years of deadlock in Korean politics,” Minseo Kim (11), politics student, said. “President Yoon has already faced significant political barriers since first taking office, and he is probably going to continue to see these obstacles now that more than half of the National Assembly constitutes his opposition forces.” 

Regardless, Yoon has had a relatively free hand in foreign policy due to Korea’s powerful presidency. Through this authority, he has moved the country much closer to the U.S. as well as Japan, South Korea’s former colonial ruler. 

Furthermore, Yoon’s overseas agenda may not be greatly affected by the results of the election as the National Assembly is deemed relatively weak when it comes to foreign policy. Although the assembly is able to pressure Yoon, Yoon has the final say and does not have to create change unless he wants to for political reasons.

“I am assuming that Yoon will likely focus a lot of his efforts into foreign policy as that is where most of his power resides given the election results,” Seohyun Park (11), political observer, said. “He will probably have a lot less control domestically, and I wonder what sort of consequences this will have on the country.”

Certain political analysts hypothesize that conservatives may distance themselves from Yoon if they decide he has become a political liability closer to the next presidential election in 2027. Yoon has been receiving low approval ratings due to his controversial takes on the birth rate crisis, excessive housing costs, labor disputes, and rising food prices. 

“I think a lot of the decline in approval ratings can be attributed to the Dior bag scandal that happened a few months ago,” Grace Choi (11), news watcher, said. “I still remember how enraged Korean citizens were when they found out the President’s wife accepted the $2,200 Dior bag from a Korean American pastor.” 

Following the election loss, several conservative South Korean newspapers published editorials placing Yoon in a negative light. The Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s largest newspaper by circulation, said the defeat was not due to policy errors or corruption, but rather because of Yoon’s lack of communication and transparency. 

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About the Contributor
Chelsea Kim
Chelsea Kim, Social Media Manager
Chelsea is the junior social media manager for Tiger Times. She possesses a great appreciation for literature and enjoys listening to music and binge-watching movie marathons during her leisure time. She is always on the lookout for new song recommendations, so make sure to approach her if you have any! 

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