Still waiting for some visionsWith only one day left before the early voting begins on Friday and Saturday, main opposition People Power Party (PPP) candidate Yoon Suk-yeol and minor opposition People’s Party (PP) candidate Ahn Cheol-soo agreed to an electoral alliance in the March 9 presidential election. After Ahn surrendered his candidacy, the presidential race has narrowed basically to between Yoon and his rival Lee Jae-myung from the ruling Democratic Party (DP). The contest has boiled down to whether to change the ruling power or maintain it.
Yoon and Ahn pledged to usher in a new era of “open politics based on the spirit of national integration” that defies the diehard “winner-takes-all system deeply rooted in division and exclusiveness.” The two also vowed to seek a “united government” not leaning toward a certain ideology. But they must prove the sincerity of their promises through action, not words, if Yoon is elected.
We hope Yoon and Ahn can find many common denominators and create an effective framework for co-governance. Whoever wins the race cannot stop the vicious cycle of enraging nearly half of the people, who will not have vote for him. If the two are bent on highlighting their alliance only to get more votes, they will face strong criticism for trying to share power if elected.
Given the timing of the alliance — just a day before early voting — supporters of the PPP and DP will fight with their opponents more fiercely than before. No doubt the language of division and confrontation will get even tougher between them. If Yoon and Ahn choose to resort to flinging mud at their rival to help fuel the chronic national division as in the past, their sincerity will be doubted — seriously. Millions of members of a television audience already witnessed such negative attacks on one another during the last TV debate on Wednesday.
In that four-way debate, Yoon lambasted DP candidate Lee for his potential involvement in the Daejang-dong land development scandal when he was mayor of Seongnam. “Would young people want to have a baby if a person like you becomes president?” Yoon asked. In reaction, Lee counterattacked Yoon for “trying to take advantage of the development project over and over.” After Yoon criticized Lee for “being an expert in lying,” Lee blasted Yoon for his lack of any administrative experience.
In the past five TV debates, presidential candidates were engrossed with personal attacks on their opponents instead of presenting their visions for a better future for the country. The results of popularity polls on candidates are not to be announced from Thursday. We look forward to seeing them competing over how to unify the nation and create jobs for the people in the five days left until election day.