Deciding our futureTomorrow is the day to choose 300 lawmakers for the 19th National Assembly. It is not only a precious moment for the people to exercise their rights every four years but also a golden opportunity to decide the future of our country for the next four years. Although elections - the flower of democracy - are always important, this one is particularly important.
The general election happens at a time when we are at a crossroads in terms of our internal and external environments. From the perspective of the domestic situation, the election is being held amid a drastic transformation of our political terrain. As people’s antagonism toward neoliberal economic values and political conservatism deepened during the last four years, the overall political scene has taken a liberal turn amid the deepening polarization of wealth - to the extent that the ruling Saenuri Party, a traditional advocate for rightist policies, came forward with liberal economic policies. Meanwhile, the main opposition Democratic United Party accommodated most of the far-left policies pursued by progressive parties in the past. Political pundits forecast that the Unified Progressive Party, a minor opposition party led by pro-North Korea forces, will probably become a parliamentary negotiating entity after this election.
Therefore, we are at a crossroads. Moreover, the results of the legislative election will directly link to the presidential election in December. When the results of both elections are combined, it could mean a drastic change in what the next administration will look like.
We also must take note of our external conditions, including North Korea’s nuclear threats. Immediately after the Wednesday elections, Pyongyang will launch a Kwangmyongsong-3 rocket, a de facto long-range missile almost surely to be followed by a nuclear test. Against that backdrop, the political parties in this election race demonstrate great differences in their approach to the North.
In particular, the New Progressive Party is under suspicion that its core group consists of followers of the juche (self-reliance) ideology enshrined by Kim Il Sung. The DUP also demonstrates a leftism drastically different from the former Democratic Party through a coalition with the NPP.
Voters need to make a wise choice on such critical questions as: “What is a better way for our nation?” and “What party is capable of finding the right way?” Citizens must demonstrate their views through votes. A vote is not just a vote but a chance to decide our future.