The Strategist

South Korea is getting ready for election with COVID-19 outbreak

03/19/2020 - 09:23

84 new cases of infection with coronavirus were registered in South Korea on Wednesday; the total number of cases rose to 8320 people. Although the peak of the epidemic is over, the authorities are tightening the procedure for entering the country and postponing the start of the school year for the third time. At the same time, the general elections scheduled for April 15 will be held on time. As explained in the Central Election Commission, patients or those in quarantine will be able to vote without visiting polling stations. The election will be an informal referendum on confidence in President Moon Jae-in, who hopes to mobilize his supporters and prevent the parliament from coming under the control of the opposition, which threatens him with impeachment.

The authorities of South Korea, three weeks ago included in the list of the most disadvantaged countries in connection with the epidemic of coronavirus, are declaring a positive trend: the number of people who recovered since the crisis began exceeded the number of new cases. Nevertheless, on Wednesday, 84 new cases of infection were recorded in the country, six people died. Thus, the total number of cases reached 8320 people, and the number of deaths is 84 people.

Meanwhile, the situation in South Korea is becoming even more dramatic in connection with the parliamentary elections scheduled for April 15, which will actually become a referendum on confidence in Moon Jae-in.
From the very beginning of the epidemic, the head of state’s opponents tried to use the topic of coronavirus to make him resign early, and even initiated the collection of signatures for impeaching him: the petitioners accused Moon Jae-in of unwillingness to take harsh measures and sacrificing the country's interests to please relations with China.

If conservatives from the largest opposition party, Liberty Korea, which currently have 108 seats in the 300-seat National Assembly, get a parliamentary majority, they can complete the impeachment process without waiting for the 2022 presidential election.

In turn, the ruling Democratic Party, which does not have an absolute majority (it has 129 seats), expects to mobilize supporters and strengthen its position by convincing voters that the authorities have demonstrated their ability to manage crisis effectively.

At a government meeting on Tuesday, President announced the establishment of an emergency economic council that would address the issues of strengthening the economy in an epidemic.

In a situation where the confrontation between the authorities and their opponents is entering a decisive phase, the Central Election Commission of South Korea said that there is no question of postponing the April 15 elections, because the country's legislation allows people to vote remotely. As specified in the Central Election Commission, this rule applies to those who have become infected with coronavirus or are in quarantine.

At the same time, the fact that healthy citizens will have to be in a confined space of polling stations on the day of voting increases the risk of group infection.


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