Former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl, a leading presidential candidate of the opposition is facing the “time of verification.” It was triggered last weekend by a sudden resignation of his spokesperson 10 days after his appointment and controversies surrounding what is called “Yoon Seok-youl X-file.” It was already expected that Yoon would face political scrutiny well before his official debut.
Yoon who has the highest approval rating as a presidential candidate has been ambiguous about whether he would run for the presidential office after his resignation from the prosecutor general position in March. He was gone for three months and showed up at the opening ceremony of the memorial space of Woodang Lee Hoe-yeong before he disappeared again from the media. His visit to the Kim Dae-jung Library was revealed four days after the event by his spokesperson. The fact that a third person kept delivering messages on behalf of Yoon caused controversies.
Whether it is the ruling or opposition party, other presidential candidates meet directly with the media. Right or wrong, they share their political vision directly. That is how people examine and judge. No one has heard why Yoon who is known to be single-minded about the prosecution is entering the political field and what kinds of politics he is going to perform. It does not mean that political technicalities, such as joining the People Power Party, should be decided hurriedly. It means that it is time for Yoon himself to explain the reasons for his political debut – why he had to jump straight from a prosecutor general to a presidential candidate.
South Korea is facing grave situations both internally and externally. It is at the center of the conflicts between the U.S. and China and there is a number of challenges, including North Korea’s nuclear issues. The economy will be another major topic of the presidential election since COVID-19. Other issues are waiting to be addressed, including real estate, youth unemployment, and gender issues. What knowledge and solutions Yoon has regarding these issues will be a much more important indicator of his leadership, rather than the X-file. He needs to share his thoughts about the zeitgeist of the upcoming presidential election and his vision for the country’s future until the end of this month at the latest. The next year’s presidential election is only eight months away.