Posted May. 08, 2017 07:19,
Updated May. 08, 2017 07:27
On Tuesday, May 9, Korea elects its 19th President. It has been squarely five months since the National Assembly endorsed the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye on December 9, last year, and two months since the constitutional court upheld the impeachment on March 10. In the meantime, the nation has been in serious division over the impeachment decision between Koreans with candles on the hands and those with national flags while being left behind in diplomatic, security and economic crises in the long absence of national leadership.
Election is an opportunity where people’s hope and aspiration for better life could be realized by making active participation. Not only individuals’ future but also the future of Korea as a whole is decided by the election. The act of election is a right that we can never give up and an obligation as a nation. One out of four voters has already cast their ballots during the two-day early voting last week. The rest of the voters may have made up their minds on whom they would vote for. We need to think about “after the election” with level-headed judgment so that a precious ballot can be cast for better choice that would not leave any regret for the future of Korea.
With no transition period, newly-elected president is to begin his or her duty as soon as the National Election Commission announces a final election result. For that reason, the next leader must have balanced judgement, intellectual capacity and good quality, which overcome incumbent crisis and plan for a brighter future. At the very least, the newly-elected president must not be the one who divides the nation into different factions and has narrow-minded that treats his/her opponents harshly. The new president must not be near-sighted who clings to the past, not able to see the future and irresolute person who is indecisive in times of crisis.
The root cause of Choi Soon-sil gate, which has caused early presidential election lies in former President Park’s dogmatic, closed and old-fashioned way of handling state affairs. The newly-elected leader should promote integration among the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae, the National Assembly and ruling and opposition parties with open mind. While presidential candidates advocated for “integration” and “collaborated governance” during the election campaign, it was only another way to say that other hopefuls are not qualified to be the president. The one that the entire nation can give a nod must be elected as the president who could bring about national unity with sincerity.
Surrounded by lying North Korea, muscle-flexing U.S., complaining China and imprudent Japan, South Korea has been left helpless over the past few months. The term “Korea passing” in which South Korea is excluded in the discussion over Korean Peninsular has become a reality. Stock prices have recorded all-time high while the youth are still failing to find jobs and the economic growth is sluggish without preparation for the future. Amid delayed restructuring and failed structural reform, a serious illness for Korean economy is about to be swept away by strong protectionism.
A crisis can be an opportunity. Facing difficulties in making choices, the decision could be unexpectedly easier when thinking about upcoming future. We need to draw a potential map of Korea which is subject to change depending on the newly-elected president in 10 days, 10 months and 10 years. The new leader must be the one who should begin creating an integrated government by appointing right persons in the right places regardless of birthplace, ideology and political factions in 10 days. The new national head must be the one who makes a thorough examination and offers positive encouragement over employment, economic reform and social welfare under a well-knit national blueprint in 10 months. The newly-elected president must be the one who can lay the foundation for Korea that is peaceful up for reunification, innovative ranked within five in the world and a welfare state at the top of rank in OECD in 10 years. One day before the important election, we need to think carefully about which candidate can do all these for Korea.