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Wednesday, March 2, 2022

AHN Cheol-soo joins YOON Seok-youl

Last night, following the last presidential debate, AHN Cheol-soo decided to stop his campaign and give his full support to YOON Seok-youl. Expected almost from the start*, this move was postponed until the last possible moment to mark AHN's ballot papers, even if voting has already started overseas.

"Ahn Cheol-soo and Yoon Seok-youl in joint presser to announce campaign merger" (20220303 - twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/1499159949062017025 @theSeoulVillage)

AhnLab founder lifts YOON's candidacy on such key issues as innovation, economy, education, or health. Mostly, he brings guarantees about his capacity to unite around the center, and to mobilize younger generations.

A reluctant candidate and a mediocre campaigner, YOON hesitated a long time before joining the PPP, an irrelevant opposition party where he had to compose with obsolete paleo-conservatives on one extreme and aggressive young anti-feminists on the other: PARK Geun-hye supporters never forgave him his role in her imprisonment, and LEE Jun-seok excels at dragging his candidacy down. Today, YOON was obviously relieved to see AHN unlock the shackles and help him focus on what matters most to him: healing Korean democracy, starting with justice.

The first mission of the united ticket is to prevent LEE Jae-myung from reaching power. Protected by the government, the controversial populist was able to cruise during the campaign without fear of being investigated in the Daejang-dong scandal. And if the family of the women murdered by his nephew (whom he defended during the trial) sued him for dismissing the double murder as 'dating violence', this most Trumpian character played the clock by delaying his answers to the judge beyond the legal limits, pushing the next steps until after the elections. 

Imagine what this man could do if he reached presidency and enjoyed the total impunity created by the ruling party's most outrageous reform: the de facto end of oversight of the executive power and the creation of the highly controversial Corruption Investigation Office, which was instantly weaponized to harass YOON and to protect Cheong Wa Dae from embarrassing scandals.

On that one, MOON clearly insulted ROH Moo-hyun's memory: the late president, a man who genuinely cared for democracy and justice, would have been appalled by a move that also betrayed the spirit of 2016, when the population overwhelmingly called for a defense of both, and the respect of separation of powers.

Beyond LEE and Trump, I often make a parallel between Korea's ruling party and the US Republican party. Both have lost their way on what used to make them most respectable. Both need to lose in 2022 if they don't want to lose their souls. And both need to humbly return to the drawing board (preferably not to push for more gerrymandering or deceitful schemes).

It may sound indecent to talk about existential threat when thousands die in Ukraine under Russian aggression, but this time, Korea must get it right, and heal from its core. And its center.


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* and not even one year after AHN's merger with OH Se-hoon ("After OH Se-hoon's Hangang Renaissance, Who In 2022?")

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