Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Conservative wins South Korean Presidency

On the news today (from PDI): Lee Myung-Bak won South Korea's presidential election by a landslide yesterday, as voters backed the former Hyundai chief executive to revive the economy and disregarded fraud allegations against him. Lee's two closest rivals conceded defeat to the opposition conservative candidate, whose victory ends a decade of left-leaning rule.

Official results with 89 percent of the vote counted gave him 48.2 percent to his closest challenger's 26.7 percent, the biggest victory margin in the nation's democratic history.

The outcome of the elections reflected widespread public despair at President Roh's administration.

Koreans grappling with high youth unemployment, an ever-widening income gap and soaring property prices gave the candidate whose slogan was "Economy First!" the unprecedented mandate despite a looming fraud investigation.

Apart from the economy, Lee promises a firmer line on North Korea, accusing the Roh government of pampering the communist state with unconditional aid. He says he would offer it massive help but strictly tied to denuclearization.