|Two Candidates of 2022 Presidential Election (yna.co.kr)|
While former South Korean presidential elections had weighty topics, politicians claim that debatable issues are absent in the 2022 presidential election. Instead, candidates have targeted specific groups with “small but certain happiness” pledges. Examples include the tattoo legalization as promised by Lee Jae-myung, the candidate of the Democratic Party of Korea, and the reinstatement of box-packaging stations in markets as promised by Yoon Suk-yeol, the candidate of the People Power Party. Although these pledges may seem trivial, nowadays, voters put customized and lifestyle-based pledges first. On the other hand, some criticize how the presidential election pledges reflect populism. As such, crucial policies are not being profoundly discussed, and pledges between the candidates are not easy to differentiate between. Real estate policies, the biggest interest of this election, have turned out to be highly similar. Both candidates promised to provide 2.5 million houses and increase the floor area ratio to 500% on reconstruction sites. Since the pledges focus on financial input, critics point out whether the candidates have considered effectiveness or financial burden. For example, when both candidates promised a monthly salary of ₩2 million for soldiers, concerns were raised about an inevitable increase in military officers’ wages, which would result in a financial burden for the taxpayer. Experts claim that as Korea is a developed country and is now stabilized institutionally, it is hard to present a new direction for state affairs.
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