Why I Stopped Supporting President Yoon[Special Kyunghyang Shinmun Anniversary Feature]

Cho Mi-deop, Jung Dae-yeon, Yu Sul-hee, Jo Mun-hui, Mun Gwang-ho 2022. 10. 6. 15:52
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President Yoon Suk-yeol’s approval rating reached a record low 24% (Sept. 30, Gallup Korea). His approval rating was slightly over 50% shortly after his inauguration in May, which was not too high, but it gradually tumbled down to half that in less than six months.

Early this month, the Kyunghyang Shinmun contacted and listened to the people who, disappointed, withdrew their support for President Yoon after voting for him in the last presidential election.

※ The interviewees’ answers to the following three questions are presented below: 1) Why did you support President Yoon? 2) Why are you withdrawing your support now and how do you feel about it? 3) What do you think President Yoon should do in the future?

* A man engaging in landscaping, sixty-something, Dalseo-gu, Daegu

1) I was disappointed at the public officials appointed by President Moon Jae-in. The confirmation hearing in the National Assembly was simply a formality, and it seemed that in the end, they placed the ones they wanted in position.

2) The opposition party holds the majority in the National Assembly, yet instead of trying to cooperate, the ruling and opposition parties are busy exposing each other’s “backdoor.”

3) The Office of the President needs to constantly communicate with ministers to draw up policies. I hope he will fulfill his promise of reducing the number of civil servants, reforming the national pension scheme, and saving the national budget.

* A male university student, age 23, Gwanak-gu, Seoul

1) I had a lot of complaints about the previous government. I had a strong impression that the Moon Jae-in government only used their own people, but since President Yoon was new to politics, I thought he would bring in a lot of experts, reduce his own role, and listen to the words of others.

2) I was disappointed after the president’s controversial foul language during his trip and his excuses afterwards. If he had apologized, his approval rating could have bounced back up, but he threw out the opportunity.

3) President Yoon stressed a “big brother” leadership, and I hope he can embrace people with different thoughts, choose the right people for the right position, and run the country in a harmonious way.

* A male real estate agent, 36, Seoul, a member of the People Power Party (PPP) Baro Sewugi (setting the PPP right)

1) I saw many young people suffer losses due to the failed real estate policies of the Moon Jae-in government. I supported Yoon because he was our party’s candidate, but I also liked his straightforwardness when he upheld the law as a prosecutor, not succumbing to the politicians.

2) The biggest reason is because of the “cherry thumbs-up” text message. He was a man who promoted governance and harmony. If there was a problem between the party leader and the party’s floor leader, he should have worked to reconcile the two, but he was secretly pleased that Lee Jun-seok was subject to disciplinary measures.

3) Governance and harmony are top priority. He should be able to resolve conflicts with Lee, his opposition inside the party; the Democratic Party of Korea, his opposition outside the party; and with ideological camps among the people.

* A female employee, aged 53, Seocho-dong, Seoul

1) When you think of President Yoon, you think of his upright character. What was most important, that is the reason why we in Gangnam voted for him was because of the tax issue. Tax cuts are important.

2) It was the “cherry thumbs-up” incident. It revealed how rough he was. That and the controversy over his foul language. He seems to lack dignity. And I think he went too far trying to build a state guest house.

3) I think his staff is the problem. Why does that monk keep appearing in the media, and can’t they silence (the issue of) her (first lady Kim Keon-hee’s) fan club? I think we can say that that (foul language controversy) was my mistake.

* A male banker, aged 40, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi

1) I thought if President Yoon entered office, he would implement market-friendly policies. I expected the People Power Party to change after fresh faces joined the party.

2) The decisive factor was a series of incidents in the PPP with the intent to get rid of the party leader Lee Jun-seok. I also think we suffered economically due to clumsy actions in foreign affairs.

3) The ruling (PPP) party needs many more new faces.

* A female homemaker, aged 34, Suseong-gu, Daegu, a voting member of the PPP

1) Since he didn’t engage in politics before, I thought he had nothing to repay. I thought he would be transparent when it came to corruption.

2) First, I didn’t like the people he appointed. They were former prosecutors whom the president personally recruited. Recently, the president went to a day care center and asked, “Do children so young come to day care centers?” showing he lacked basic understanding of our society.

3) I wish his staff would keep in mind, “The president might not know this,” when working next to the president. If they don’t, I think we will continue to see incidents like what happened at the day care center.

* A self-employed business owner, male, aged 32, Guri-si, Gyeonggi

1) As a presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol met with self-employed business owners and promised to lift all business restrictions and provide real compensation with 50 trillion won. President Yoon was elected because of these store owners.

2) We haven’t heard from him since the election. Where did the 50 trillion won that President Yoon promised go?

3) He needs to focus on store owners who actually suffered huge losses and leave out those who managed well enough to get by.

* A male lawyer in his thirties, Seoul

1) It was because of the real estate prices that skyrocketed in the Moon Jae-in government. I thought there was a need to keep the government in check by having a new government enter office.

2) I was disappointed after seeing the president turn his back on the former party leader, Lee Jun-seok. The sight of him being swayed by his wife, who was involved in many allegations, such as plagiarism, a fabricated resume, and stock manipulation, didn’t help, either. He also made too many rash comments.

3) I don’t think I’ll ever support President Yoon again. But that doesn’t mean I will vote for the Democratic Party, either. I hope the People Power Party will present a different candidate.

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