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Why Millennial Voters Turned on Korea's Park

  • Double-digit jobless rate powered young voter election turnout
  • Millennials turned on Park and `old men who run the chaebol'
Ahn Cheol Soo celebrates his victory in the parliamentary election on April 13.

Ahn Cheol Soo celebrates his victory in the parliamentary election on April 13.

Photographer: Sipa via AP Photo
Updated on

Spend any time on South Korean social media sites, and you’re bound to see the phrase “Hell Chosun.” For Korean millennials, that refers to the hellish future that lies ahead. Such youthful disillusionment goes a long way toward explaining the electoral drubbing voters gave President Park Geun Hye’s ruling party in last week’s parliamentary election.

Park’s Saenuri Party fell to second place in the National Assembly with 122 of 300 seats, behind the main opposition’s 123 seats, confounding some opinion polls that predicted she’d gain ground. The fledgling and centrist People’s Party, led by a businessman-turned-politician, Ahn Cheol Soo, attracted a big chunk of the youth vote and picked up 38 seats, denying Park her majority.