Ruling party’s crushing defeat adds pressure on Yoon for change

President Yoon Suk Yeol attends a policy review meeting at the presidential office in Yongsan District, Seoul, April 4. Courtesy of presidential office

President Yoon Suk Yeol faces mounting pressure to reassess his approach to governing and managing state affairs, as the ruling People Power Party’s (PPP) decisive defeat in Wednesday’s general elections underscores widespread public dissatisfaction with his job performance.In response, the president said he would accept the election result and make an effort for reform, while his aides offered to resign.In the general elections to select 300 members of the National Assembly, the PPP and the People Future Party, its satellite party for proportional representation seats, obtained 108 seats combined, while the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and its satellite party, the Democratic United Party, gained 175.”The president expressed his intention to humbly accept the will of the people as demonstrated in the general elections and vowed to do his utmost to revamp the government’s approach, stabilize the economy, and improve the people’s livelihood,” Yoon’s Chief of Staff Lee Kwan-sup said in a press briefing.The presidential office said Yoon’s remarks about reform indicate his administration’s commitment to cooperating and communicating with the opposition in governing the country.

“Even before the general elections, the president has consistently emphasized that regardless of the election outcome, it serves as an evaluation of his governance thus far,” a senior official at the presidential office said. “We will take time to thoroughly examine ourselves, analyzing both the election results and the underlying causes that led to them.”Along with Yoon’s remarks, his key aides, including Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, offered to resign.”Except for the Office of National Security, all presidential senior secretaries, including the chief of staff and the director of national policy, offered to resign,” the senior official said.As of Thursday afternoon, Yoon had not yet accepted their resignations. Yoon’s comments and his aides’ resignations were prompted by the election outcome, which saw the DPK and other minor liberal parties critical of the Yoon government, such as the Rebuilding Korea Party (RKP), the Saemirae Party, and the Jinbo Party, securing a total of 189 seats.With the PPP holding 108 seats, slightly over one-third of the Assembly, the party retains the ability to prevent the opposition from unilaterally passing bills on constitutional amendments or neutralizing Yoon’s presidential veto power, as both measures require approvals by two-thirds of the Assembly. But it still empowers the opposition to control the country’s legislation, effectively limiting Yoon’s policies.

The election outcome has sparked criticism suggesting that Yoon bears responsibility for the defeat. The elections were widely regarded as a midterm assessment of the Yoon administration, and the public sided with the opposition bloc, which campaigned under slogans calling for a verdict on the Yoon administration.During the lead-up to the elections, the PPP’s support experienced declines whenever political problems arose from the presidential office. A senior secretary resigned after making a controversial comment on press freedom, while Yoon faced backlash after appointing a former defense minister who is under investigation as ambassador to Australia. The president was also mired in controversy over a remark suggesting his ignorance of the actual price of spring onions as the public reels from soaring inflation.The president and the ruling party also failed to foster harmony. Yoon and PPP interim leader Han Dong-hoon clashed over a scandal involving the first lady, Kim Keon Hee, receiving a luxury handbag. Additionally, the PPP criticized Yoon for his perceived inflexibility in addressing a walkout by doctors to protest the president’s proposal to expand the admissions quota of medical schools.This was compounded by the opposition party’s criticism that the president consistently refuses to compromise or engage in dialogue with the DPK on most contentious issues throughout his presidency, resulting in lower job approval 카지노사이트킹 ratings.

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