May 31, 2006


A lasting 'Net legacy - Korean anti-Americanism (Jeffrey Robertson, 6/01/06, Asia Times)

As the administration of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun winds down and assumes its "lame duck" status, the question of its historical legacy is coming to the fore. Of all the issues that Roh has faced as president, two themes have dominated from the very beginning - the Internet and anti-Americanism.

Blogs and Internet chat rooms were the genesis of Roh's campaign. They brought a virtually unknown candidate to the presidency. With little background in national politics, without an prestigious education and from a less than privileged background, Roh could not have been elected without an overwhelming youth vote and its Internet coordination.

Today, Roh-Sa-Mo (the Korean-language abbreviation for the Roh Lover's Society) has become an Internet legend. On polling day, bulletin boards, chat rooms and cell-phone text messages urged eligible voters to vote for Roh, boosting the usually complacent youth vote. Perhaps for the first time in the Internet age, a dedicated band of "netizens" had influenced an election result. But four years on, with the US-South Korea relations under constant pressure, blogs and Internet chat rooms may leave Korea's first "Internet president" with a less favorable legacy.

Parallel to Roh's Internet-based victory was the growth of a more sinister form of Internet-based political consciousness - anti-Americanism.

orea's ruling party heads for big defeat (Bruce Klingner, 5/31/06, Asia Times)
South Korea's ruling Uri Party is expected to suffer another humiliating loss during Wednesday's local elections, accelerating the decline in President Roh Moo-hyun's political influence and making a party split more likely by year's end.

Party chairman Chung Dong-yong will be held responsible for the loss, weakening his candidacy for the December 2007 presidential election. Chung could even be forced to resign, as his predecessor Moon Hee-sang did after poor Uri Party results in the 2005 by-elections.

The main opposition Grand National Party (GNP) should sweep the majority of the electoral contests, improving the presidential candidacy hopes of both the party chairwoman, Park Geun-hye, and her party rival, Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak.

S. Korea's opposition GNP wins big in local elections: exit polls (Kyodo News, 5/31/06)
South Korea's main opposition Grand National Party won a crushing victory over the ruling Uri Party in Wednesday's nationwide local elections, widely seen as a weathervane for next year's presidential election, according to exit poll results released by local TV networks.

The state-run Korean Broadcasting System said its exit poll results showed the GNP won 11 out of 16 contests for either mayor or governors, with the Uri Party winning just one and the others going to minor opposition parties. [...]

The elections were held amid deepening public disappointment about President Roh Moo Hyun's handling of state affairs.

Yup, it's the perfect Leftwing moment in world politics, huh?

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 31, 2006 9:35 AM
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