Coronavirus Blights Election Campaign

  • By Choi Yeon-jin

    March 27, 2020 13:43

    The coronavirus epidemic is threatening the general election slated for April 15. Candidate registration started on Thursday, but with less than three weeks to go until election day, candidates and voters alike are in the dark.

    Parties have canceled all traditional canvassing due to social distancing rules. Many candidates complain they have trouble having their names recognized, and voters say they are unaware who the candidates are and what they are promising.

    Provincial government staff take part in a campaign to encourage voting in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province on Wednesday, ahead of the general election next month. /Yonhap

    The hustings are certainly very different. There are no campaign vehicles blaring in the streets, and no candidates shaking hands with voters or invading small companies.

    Instead, candidates have moved online to engage with voters, promoting themselves and their party on YouTube and Facebook.

    But this new tactic may put relative newcomers and those from minor parties at a disadvantage because they do not have the following of established politicians.

    One newcomer from the ruling Minjoo Party said, "Because I'm wearing a mask, I can't even make my face known to voters."

    And a staffer from the opposition United Future Party said, "Online campaigning won't work for elderly voters as they tend to retain loyalty to a particular party rather than a candidate."

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