Charlotte Street Partners



Women are the real losers in South Korea’s presidential election

Written by Ian Ng, researcher
Edited by Scott Reid, associate partner
10 March 2022

Good morning,

In South Korea’s presidential election held yesterday, conservative opposition candidate Yoon Suk-yeol of the People Power Party (PPP) won by the smallest margin in Korea’s history. The candidate for the governing progressive Democratic Party, Lee Jae-myung, conceded defeat after losing by less than one percent. Aged 61, Yoon has no past experience in politics before he joined the PPP last year. 
Waiting in Yoon’s in-tray is the worst wave of Covid-19 infections that South Korea has yet faced, widening economics disparity between generations and surging home prices, all of which incumbent Moon Jae-in largely failed to tackle.
And while relations with China unsurprisingly emerged as one of the election’s main campaign issues, misogyny was also found to be “at the heart of the presidential election”.
In a bid to win over young men who felt discriminated against, Yoon pledged to abolish the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. He called the ministry a form of reverse discrimination and further suggested introducing tougher penalties for false claims of sexual assault. The Democratic Party did little to oppose the proposals. It has seen multiple sexual harassment scandals which saw the mayor of Busan imprisoned for sexual assault. And while it may seem counterintuitive, the root cause of a rise in sexual violence is the economy. Young men in Korea face immense social and cultural pressure to compete both in universities and the workplace and women have become an unfortunate scapegoat. As one issue where their frustration is aired, the conscription of men to serve in the Korean army who would otherwise be gaining work experience has been seen by many as giving unfair advantage to their female peers.
Yoon also argued the case for leaning further towards the US. He criticised Moon’s government engagement policy towards China and is expected to mend ties with Tokyo and strengthen the US-South Korea alliance. He also advocated a hawkish policy on China and the need to deploy additional units of the US THAAD anti-missile system against North Korea, which is likely to provoke China.
The election results will no doubt mark a bitter day for China-South Korea relations, but more so for South Koreans themselves. This election was deemed “unusually bitter”, marred by scandals and with both candidates using negative campaigning tactics that got to the heart of some of the most deep-seated cultural prejudices in their society. You know the election is not going well when constituents describe their motivation at the ballot box as “the need to choose the less bad”.


The White House has claimed that Russia may launch chemical or biological weapon attacks in Ukraine and warned that “we should all be on the lookout”. Officials from other Western nations have also offered that they are very concerned about the possibility of Russia using non-conventional weapons – most likely referring to chemical weapons.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is facing intense pressure from the Conservative back benches to take action in this month’s spring statement to alleviate the cost of living crisis, which has been exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. His previous February package was criticised as too meagre to cushion the blow significantly for many households.
A report found that the Stonehaven derailment in Aberdeenshire in August 2020 was due to a series of operational failures. A drainage system installed in 2011 was not in accordance with the design and the train was too old to have met the modern safety standards. The train drivers’ union have since condemned the report as “damning”.

Business and economy

Global markets rebounded after the easing of some commodity pricesyesterday, ending a four-day losing streak for global equities due to the invasion of Ukraine. Japan’s Topix rose four per cent and was on track for its best day in almost 21 months, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained more than one per cent.
US president Joe Biden signed an executive order yesterday instructing the Department of Commerce to examine the risks and benefits of cryptocurrencies. The measures focus on areas such as consumer protection and financial stability. His administration is also looking into the possibility of “a digital version of the dollar”, a move the Chinese government started last year with the renminbi.
Oil prices have plunged after the United Arab Emirates said it supported increasing production. The price of Brent crude fell more than 17% following the country’s statement of support, a week after Opec rebuffed calls to raise production levels.

Columns of note

The foreign minister of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, writes in the Financial Timesurging EU member states to consider accession for his country. He argues that granting EU membership would not provoke Russia as Putin has instead fixated on Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO. Kuleba therefore thinks that EU membership will not aggravate the situation and asked for leaders of the EU to support Ukraine by granting the status.
Writing in the Guardian, Oliver Bullough argues that the economic crime bill currently being debated in the House of Lords has too many loopholes to place appropriate pressure on the Russian government. The bill would require transparency for offshore companies that own property in the UK, but only when individuals own more than 25% of the company. He writes that this may lead to Russian oligarchs colluding with their close relatives and each holding less than the threshold – effectively preventing the restrictions to be imposed on them.


What happened yesterday?

London stocks closed well above the waterline on Wednesday, as investors picked up some bargains following recent heavy falls. The FTSE 100 ended the session up 3.25% at 7,190.72 points and the FTSE250 was 4.43% firmer at 20,069.20 points. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 index ended the day up 2.57%, while the Dow was up 2.00%.
On the currency markets, sterling was trading 0.5% stronger against the dollar at $1.3167 but it weakened 1.07% on the euro to €1.1891.

What’s happening today?

Mti Wireless
Geiger Counter
Annual Report
Foresight Solar
Primary Health
Pmgr Secs 2025
Premier Miton
Grafton Group
Gat Air Fin 26
Vivo Energy
Drilling Report
Shanta Gold
Castillo Coppe.
Mti Wireless
China Yangtze S

Final Results
Legal & General
Alfa Fin
Somero Enter Di
Network Intl
Foresight Solar
888 Holdings

Tt Electronics
Pmgr Secs 2025
Gat Air Fin 26
Tullow Oil
Premier Miton
Afc Energy
Interim Results
Thinksmart Ltd
Croma Security
JPMorgan Mid Cap
Trading Announcement
Intl Economic Announcement
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)
UK Economic Announcement
(00:01) Retail Sales

Source: Financial Times

did you know

In early drafts of The Lord of the Rings, Frodo was named “Bingo”.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral Questions
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
Church Commissioners and House of Commons Commission and Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body and Public Accounts Commission and Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission
Business Statement
Business Questions to the Leader of the House
Proceedings on the Supply and Appropriation (Anticipation and Adjustments) Bill
Backbench Business
General debate on international Women’s Day

House of Lords 

Oral Questions
Elections Bill – committee stage (day 1)

Scottish parliament 

Parliamentary Bureau Motions
General Questions
First Minister’s Questions
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body Questions
Portfolio Questions
Ministerial Statement
Rail Accident Investigation Branch Report into Carmont Passenger Train Derailment
Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee Debate: The Road to COP27 and Beyond: Tackling the Climate Emergency in the Aftermath of COP26
Withdrawal of Bill: UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill
Business Motions
Parliamentary Bureau Motions
Decision Time

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