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World leaders that Koreans want as the next president

Posted March. 29, 2017 07:12,   

Updated March. 29, 2017 07:23

As the presidential election date was decided at May 9, 1,000 Korean voters were asked whom they want to see as our next president of Korea, if they can make a foreign leader as our president. Former U.S. President Barack Obama took a comfortable lead as 66.6 percent of respondents said that they wish to send Obama to the Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

The Dong-A Ilbo asked a research company Embrain to survey on a preference for the world leaders (politicians) and former U.S. President Barack Obama had a big lead over other politicians such as Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel (12.4 percent), China’s President Xi Jinping (3.4 percent), and U.S. President Donald Trump (3.2 percent) in total score. Also, polling rates of former U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were all below 3 percent.

As for the reason of their choice, 37.3 percent answered “talk freely with people” and this means that Korean people are greatly disappointed at former President Park Geun-hye for her lack of communication and her confidant’s meddling in state affairs and considers that unserved communication skills as one of qualifications to be the next president. “A strong leadership (18.8 percent)” and “An ability to integrate the nation (12.6 percent)” were ranked as the second and the third. To be the next president of Korea, he or she should be able to have communication skills, leadership, and the ability to integrate the nation.

“It appears that former U.S. President Obama who showed the leadership of communication and tolerance has appealed to Korean people due to difficult political situations in Korea," said Professor Ahn Deok-keun of the Graduate School of International Studies at Seoul National University. "One thing that’s noticeable is poor approval rating of Shinzo Abe despite remarkable leadership in politics and economy. The result shows how Korean people regard him (the Japanese prime minister).”

“People support more on Obama’s reaction that sticks to the principle and pursues both talks and pressure than Trump’s radical communication style that publicly talks about preemptive strikes and others,” said Professor Kim Jae-cheon of the Graduate School of International Studies at Sogang University.

The survey was conducted on March 23-26 for 1,000 men and women aged between 20s to 50s via mobile, and the poll had a sampling error of plus or minus 95 percent with confidence level of ±3.1 percentage points. The Dong-A Ilbo and Embrain selected nine foreign leaders including former U.S. President Obama and others as “Virtual presidential candidates of Korea,” based on recognition, influence, and other factors. About 250 in all age groups selected Mr. Obama, showing that he was supported by people in all ages.

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com