Mass protest in Cheonggye Plaza, by Teddy Cross

South Korea's Leadership Crisis

Senior Fellow for Korean Studies and Director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy at the Council of Foreign Relations Scott A. Snyder has offered an expert brief on the scandal surrounding President Park Geun-hye and the protest movement demanding her resignation. In the largest demonstrations the country has seen since the pro-democracy movement of the 1980s, hundreds of thousands of citizens have turned out to protest Park giving family friend Choi Sun-sil enormous influence in government decision-making and monetary kickbacks. But more than a blow to soft power, the scandal threatens South Korean security.

This leadership crisis comes amidst a time of uncertainty and fear, with Donald Trump's ascension to the presidency in the United States and North Korea's quest for long-range nuclear capability. The scandal has three components, all of which must be addressed if South Korea is to return to stability: the legal timetable, where currently the public's verdict has outpaced the official investigation; the political power vacuum, as the three main opposition parties struggle to forge a political consensus and field possible presidential candidates; and the issue of constitutional revision, which threatens to become politicized by the current crisis. These components are essential not only for public trust and stability, but to preserve South Korea's standing in the region.

The full article is available here.

Photo by Teddy Cross I CC 2.0

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