Magazine May 18, 2020, Issue

Up from North Korea

Ji Seong-ho (Jean Chung for the Washington Post via Getty Images)
A pair of defectors are elected in the South

On April 15, South Korea held a parliamentary election. There were many interesting things about this election — not least that it was held during a pandemic. And that turnout was high: 66 percent. This was the highest turnout for a parliamentary election in South Korea since 1992. Electoral officials took a number of precautions, requiring that voters wear masks, etc.

But nothing was more interesting than the election of Thae Yong-ho and Ji Seong-ho. They will take their seats when the new Assembly convenes on May 30. Their election was “truly a historic, seismic, shocking event,” says Henry Song. Why?

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