global plaudits for keeping the
under control without resorting to draconian lockdowns. Now the country faces the latest test of its resolve to keep normal life going during a pandemic: holding a national election.
South Koreans vote in parliamentary elections on Wednesday in a poll widely seen as a referendum on President
relatively liberal pandemic response, which has emphasised openness and voluntary cooperation in place of more coercive measures.
“The coronavirus crisis has opened up a black hole and all the other election issues have disappeared,” said Hong Deuk-pyo, a professor emeritus at Inha University in Incheon, about 30km outside Seoul. “It will be an election about the coronavirus.”
The vote, the first major national election to take place since the novel coronavirus was identified in China late last year, will be a test case for authorities overseas facing thorny logistical and civil liberties questions ahead of their own elections in the weeks and months ahead.