South Korea is holding an election during the coronavirus crisis. Other countries are postponing theirs. Either way, democracy may suffer
Seoul (CNN)It’s just after lunchtime at a central Seoul market and a crowd in hot pink jackets is gathering. Pink is the color of the country’s main opposition party, the conservative United Future Party, and this crowd of supporters is staging a legal campaign rally ahead of Wednesday’s election of 300 members of the National Assembly. Large public gatherings are a jarring sight during a pandemic.But South Korea has never postponed an election before — and the coronavirus is not stopping this one.Like many democracies around the world, South Korea has been faced with a predicament: how to hold an election during a pandemic without spreading the virus.At least 47 countries have postponed elections due to the coronavirus outbreak, including Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, France and Ethiopia. Others, like the United States and New Zealand, are still deciding whether to proceed with their scheduled votes.Many of those countries are at different points in the virus outbreak. South Korea peaked early, prompting praise for the government’s handling of the pandemic. The country isn’t in lockdown, and of the more than 10,500 confirmed cases, more than 7,400 have recovered. Nevertheless, South Korea has made a number of election concessions for the virus.