Scheduled on March 9 next year, the 20th Presidential Election of South Korea is exactly 180 days away. It was around this time five years ago when the Park Geun-hye administration was embroiled in a scandal regarding the manipulation of government affairs with Choi Soon-sil behind the scenes. The nation is waiting for its big day to decide whether to allow the current leadership, which was built following the impeachment of the former president, to stay in power or to transfer power to the opposition.
There is more uncertainty over who will win presidency than ever before. According to polls by Gallop Korea, as many as 32 percent turn out to be swing voters. Whether “a change of government” will happen is the only major interest among voters with lack of discussion on policy. Added to this, even with the growing negative campaigning across the political arena, neither the ruling party nor the opposition has any perfect fit for the next president with trustworthy qualities and vision in mind at the moment.
Both the ruling party and the opposition will be dedicated to preliminaries for some time. The Minjoo Party of Korea is scheduled to decide the final presidential candidate on Oct. 10 while foreseeing a severe side effect. The PPP is already in the middle of confusion even before its preliminaries start off due to unfavorable factors such as the issue with the rules of the preliminaries and a likely candidate’s involvement in criminal complaint incitement allegations.
The political arena may be stained with sneaky and ill-intentioned tricks and schemes to have impact on candidacy selection as the landscape will change according to final candidates of the ruling party and the opposite. Candidates running for presidency are supposed to deal with fundamental matters to provide a blueprint of the next administration. Over the next six months, voters need to identify who is the best pick for the next president by looking keenly at the truths behind negative campaigns that attempt to turn the tables from candidacy selection through to the presidential election. As a famous phrase goes, in every democracy, the people get the government they deserve. Time is nearing when South Korean citizens show their high level of political consciousness.