The presidential election that took place in South Korea on May 9, 2017, produced a clear winner. The Democratic Party candidate, Moon Jae-in, received 41.1 percent of the vote, thus becoming the country’s 19th president. In this issue of the Asia Policy Brief, Hannes B. Mosler, assistant professor at the Institute of Korean Studies and the Graduate School of Asian Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, analyzes the election and the reform agenda of the new president.
He argues that Moon Jae-in has the potential to master the many challenges of South Korea. The success of his presidency, however, will depend on whether Moon can unite a divided society. He also needs the support of civil society and the opposition to implement his ambitious reform agenda. One of Moon’s biggest political challenges is that, for the time being, he has to rely on a minority government running the risk that the opposition will block key reforms in order to protect its own or others’ interests.