Press TV, Seoul
South Korea’s presidential campaign season opened this week, enabling candidates and supporters to rally in the streets from six in the morning until 11 at night.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many small businesses and lower-wage earners. Liberal standard-bearer Lee Jae-myung promised help. While conservative Yoon Seok-yeol also vows to improve the economy, he also promises to tighten the alliance with the US and take a harder line with North Korea.
Lee and Yoon are running neck and neck in opinion polls. The presidential campaign here kicks off just as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 reaches a record of more than 90,000 new cases in a single day. Meanwhile, as service industry businesses struggle to survive, managing the economic impact of the pandemic emerges as a major campaign issue.
With the minimum voting age lowered to 18, experts suggest the youth vote will be key. Voters head to the polls to elect the 13th president of the Republic of Korea on March 9.