South Korea’s president talks to opposition about cooperation after his party was routed in election

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South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol met with liberal opposition leader Lee Jae-myung to discuss how to work together after Yoon’s conservative party suffered a big loss in recent parliamentary elections. This was their first meeting since Yoon became president in 2022, defeating Lee in a close race. During their election campaigns, they criticized each other a lot and even filed lawsuits against each other.

Yoon suggested the meeting because he’s facing pressure to cooperate with Lee’s Democratic Party. The Democratic Party’s victory in the April 10 elections means they’ll control the National Assembly until after Yoon’s term ends in 2027. The meeting didn’t have a specific agenda, but they were expected to talk about improving people’s lives and working together on government matters.

They also planned to discuss how to end strikes by junior doctors that have been causing problems in the healthcare system. Lee might bring up his party’s demands for special investigations into allegations involving Yoon’s wife and other officials. He might also suggest giving money to all South Koreans to help the economy, but Yoon’s party has called this a populist move.

The Democratic Party spokesperson said people want Yoon to make big changes in his policies and accept special investigations into his government. The presidential office and the Democratic Party will announce the meeting’s results separately.

The parliamentary elections were a test for Yoon, who has been struggling with low approval ratings and an opposition-controlled parliament. Critics say the election loss happened because the government didn’t control rising prices and Yoon didn’t replace officials involved in scandals.

Despite the election setback, Yoon’s foreign policy plans are likely to stay the same because they don’t need parliament’s approval. He’s been working with the United States and Japan to deal with North Korea’s nuclear threats.

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