» 04/09/2008, 00.00
Lee tries to confirm his victory in parliamentary elections
Just three months after his election, the newly-elected president expect South Korea’s 38 million eligible voters to hand him and his conservative Party a much needed majority if they want to implement the reforms they promised.
Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – South Koreans go to the polls today to elect their 299-member National Assembly. The vote is seen as a test for President Lee Myung-bak who was elected to the highest office of the land last December. Mr Lee's conservative Grand National Party is counting on winning more seats than the liberal opposition United Democratic Party to begin implementing its much touted reforms. But a large number of voters remain undecided and Mr Lee’s popularity is already dipping, dampening Conservative hopes.
Mr Lee was elected on a platform that included economic reforms and getting tougher on North Korea, tying humanitarian aid for instance to Pyongyang’s ending its nuclear programme.
Almost in response to the Seoul’s new stance, North Korea has carried out new missile tests and closed its borders to South Korean humanitarian workers, and closed off the areas of Kŭmgangsan (Mount Kumgang) and Kaesŏng, two demilitarised areas where the Koreans from both sides worked together on humanitarian and industrial projects.
About 37.8 million people in South Korea are eligible to cast their ballots at some 13,250 polling stations. North Korea is not likely however to play any determining role in the outcome; the economy is said to be the main factor.
The new parliament will begin meeting May 30 for a four-year term.
10/04/2008 COREA DEL SUD
Lee’s party wins elections, Seoul now waiting for reforms
Despite a very low turnout, result allows the president to start promised economic reforms. Pyongyang issues no comment, for now.
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Presidential elections: waiting for Lee’s victory in Seoul
A day before votes are cast, surveys indicate that the former mayor of Seoul will win the bid for the highest office. A declared Christian Lee Myung-bak can count less on his party’s political positions than on his own status as a symbol of South Korea’s economic success, rising like the phoenix out of the ashes of war.
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Opposition occupies parliament to stop trade deal with United States
South Korea’s National Assembly has been paralysed by Democratic Party members who have occupied the main session hall to prevent it from functioning. The bone of contention is a trade deal with the United States estimated to be worth US$ 20 billion. Meanwhile consumer confidence hits lowest level in years.
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Pyongyang's arrogance casts shadow on two peace meetings
The North Korean envoy invited widespread indignation by talking about threats of war linked to a victory of the Grand National Party. At a Nobel Peace Prize conference, meanwhile, Gorbachev talked about the division of Korea as "fruit of the Cold War" and urged all to resolve conflicts in "national terms".
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New Year demonstrations in Seoul against the government’s “dangerous” laws
More than a hundred thousand people, including media and teachers’ unions, take to the streets in a candlelight protest against President Lee Myung-bak’s policies on media, security services and school admission.
Pope Francis tells young people that “genuine love” is not a “soap opera”, but Christians’ real identity card
In his homily for the Jubilee of Teens, Pope Francis asked questions and gave answers to the 70,000 present. Stressing the great ideal of love as giving oneself “without being possessive”, he noted that freedom is “being able to choose the good”. He warned young people “who dare not dream,” telling them that “If you do not dream at your age, you are already ready for retirement”. He also received funds raised for the Ukraine, and appealed for the release of bishops and the priests held in Syria.
Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists
Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.
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