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Politicians from the ruling People Power Party and the opposition Democratic Party have traditionally held the top offices in South Korea.

Currently, the two parties hold 270 out of 300 seats in the legislature, for example.

However, only 24 percent of South Korean citizens trusted in those parliamentarians two years ago. Scandals and other challenges have dented their reputations since then, analysts say. Now, as voters prepare to go to the polls on April 10 to elect new lawmakers, new political organizations might secure a larger share of the country’s legislature.

“Both (mainstream) parties are grappling with internal struggles and political controversies that are fueling the prospect of new, breakaway parties making gains,” wrote North Greenville University political scientist Jong Eun Lee in the Conversation.

The two traditional parties are losing support as South Korean society changes – the country was impoverished in 1950 but is a world-class economic powerhouse today – as well as “widespread frustration” with domestic politics, explained the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

South Korea used to be split east and west in terms of political affiliations, for example. The east was conservative while the west was progressive. Now, however, age is a bigger determining factor. Older folks are more conservative, while the young are more progressive.

The future agenda of President Yoon Suk Yeol of the People Power Party is on the line, added the Stimson Center, a think tank. He has many challenges facing his administration, including corruption allegations – his wife allegedly accepted an expensive handbag as an inappropriate gift, reported Nikkei Asia – the growing power of large conglomerates in the country, inflation, rising housing prices, and other issues.

A massive doctors’ strike over a government proposal to increase the pool of clinicians, as well as soaring prices for green onions and apples, for instance, have hurt the People Power Party’s standing in the polls, noted the Associated Press.

Yoon also supports a close partnership between South Korea and the US against China. Democratic Party leaders tend to seek a close, less hostile, relationship with their massive neighbor and less closeness with the US.

If the People’s Power Party flops on election day, Yoon will seem like a lame duck, concluded the Diplomat. While he has vast powers under the South Korean system, he will be stuck with exercising his constitutional duties but ignoring the systemic changes that many South Koreans crave.

Lee of the Conversation, meanwhile, believes that if the result of the election is a more diverse, multi-party legislature, that could be transformational for the country’s domestic and international agenda, and banish the gridlock.

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