Speed Reads

peas in a pod?

Why some say South Korea's new President Yoon Suk-yeol is 'like Trump'

South Koreans on Wednesday elected former top prosecutor and conservative People Power Party candidate Yoon Suk-yeol to be their nation's next leader, in what was "the most contested presidential election in the country's democratic history," The Washington Post reports.

Yoon — a political newcomer who helped convict presidents before becoming one — edged to victory by less than a 1 percent margin, "ushering in an era of conservative party rule that would significantly shift the country's policies in the face of North Korea's nuclear ambitions and China's rise," the Post writes. 

"Up until recently, I had never imagined entering politics," Yoon said in a recent campaign speech, per The New York Times. "But the people put me in the position I am in now, on a mission to remove the incompetent and corrupt Democratic Party from power."

In some ways, given Yoon's political novelty, the anger conservatives felt toward his Democratic predecessor, and the lack of confidence voters have in current People Power Party leadership, "Yoon is like [former U.S. President Donald] Trump," Kim Hyung-joon, a political scientist in Seoul, told the Times. "He is an outsider running to shake up the establishment."

Yoon also cultivated a particularly strong contingent of support from men in their 20s and 30s by both criticizing his predecessor's progressive gender policies and taking issue with feminism, adds the Sydney Morning Herald.

Assistant Professor Jae Jok Park of the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies described Yoon's maneuvering as a "Trump-style campaign to get young voters," per the Sydney Morning Herald.

And, according to the Korea Herald, both Trump and Yoon "have made remarks that would be offensive to other countries, praised heavily controversial political figures, gone after foreigners, and shown a poor understanding of feminism."