2017 Korean presidential election was held on May 9, 2017, for the 15 candidates who stood. The election was supposed to be held on December 20, 2017, but due to the impeachment of former president Geun-Hye Park, the 19th Korean presidential election has been put forward to May. Citizens were able to find their polling place by using the official website and mobile app of Central Election Management Committee.
After the impeachment of Park Geun-Hye by Constitutional Court, Prime Minister Kyo-Ahn Hwang took role instead of her. However, he informed that he will not take a role for a term on his own so the election has been advanced by 7 months.
There were several candidates from various political parties and below are the list of top 5 candidates:
Jae-in Moon / Democratic Party
Jun-pyo Hong / Liberty Korea Party
Cheol-soo Ahn / People’s Party
Seung-min Yoo / Bareun Party
Sang-jung Sim / Justice Party
In addition, a new event was held regarding the election. In order to increase citizen’s contribution to voting, Korean government held an event called Plebiscite Lotto. People can upload their selfie proving that they voted to voteforkorea.com and the website will announce five people who are given prizes. First place will gain 50% of supporting money, second place will have 20% of it, third place will have 10% of it, and the fourth place will gain 50,000 won for the prize.
This led 77.2% of the entire citizens to vote, recording the highest turnout in Korean history. Also, a number of well-known celebrities uploaded their selfies proving that they voted on their SNS with a caption encouraging people to vote. Since Korea has a famous k-pop culture, the influence of celebrities was strong too.
With 41.1% of an approval rating, Moon Jae-in became the 19th president of Korea. He made 10 election pledges to engage citizens’ attention:
Increase employment rate
Creating 810,000 more jobs
Installing Industrial Revolution committee
Public sector jobs
Reforming political authority
Relocate government building
Adjusting speculum investigation authority
Moving the president office to Gwang Hwa Mun
Chaebol (business conglomerates) reformation
Clawback profits from Influence peddling
Confiscating Choi Sun-sil’s property
Strengthening alliance between U.S. and Korea
Handling North Korean nuclear issue with peace
Maintaining peace and democracy
Establishing control tower to protect the Blue House from disasters
Closing decrepit structure of nuclear facility
Supporting the youth of Korea
Increasing the minimum wages etc
Youth employment policy
Supporting Gender equality
Giving more authority to Ministry of Gender Equality and Family
Prohibiting gender discrimination
Increasing basic pension to 300,000 won
Widening occupations to 800,000
Government bearing the cost of public education until high school
Establishing more national infant caring facilities
Supporting small business owner-operator
Widening the small and medium business administration to venture companies
Election pledges are one of the most important parts of the presidential election and he is currently accomplishing some of the pledges as he became the 19th president in Korea. While some people are supporting him, the others are still supporting the candidates that they preferred. As Moon became the president, he mentioned, "For peace of the Korean Peninsula, (I will) constantly be working, if it is necessary, I will fly immediately to Washington and also visit Beijing and Tokyo. If the condition is created, I will also go to Pyongyang" which clearly shows his enthusiasm towards developing Korea. Many people are expecting President Moon to make right choices and develop Korea into a better place to live.