‘Immigration to Canada’ trends on Twitter as South Korea elects president ‘K-Trump’

The internet was abuzz with pleas to immigrate to Canada after South Korea’s conservative leader won the elections

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Election day in South Korea looked a lot like election day in the United States in 2016 when Donald Trump became president.

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The internet was abuzz with pleas to immigrate to Canada after conservative candidate Yoon Suk-yeol, dubbed K-Trump, was elected the new president of South Korea on Thursday.

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The newly elected president led many Koreans to flood Twitter with almost 16,000 “immigration to Canada” tweets, making it a trending topic throughout the day.

Former top prosecutor Suk-yeol beat liberal ruling party candidate Lee Jae-myung by less than one per cent, making it one of the closest presidential elections in recent history.

Suk-yeol drew criticism throughout his campaign for making outlandish statements.

In July 2021, he lambasted South Korea’s outgoing president Moon Jae-in’s policy to promote better work-life balance that limits workers to 52-hour work weeks — 40 hours a week, plus another 12 hours of overtime.

“Workers should be allowed to work 120 hours a week and then take a good rest,” said Suk-yeol, adding the system should allow for more flexibility for those who need to work longer hours during peak periods.

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A month later, he stated that low-income individuals should have a choice of eating foods that don’t meet legal standards, as long as the food doesn’t kill them.

“Poor people should be allowed to choose food below (certain quality standards) to eat at lower prices … unless it makes you sick and die,” he said in an interview critiquing excessive food regulations in reference to Milton Friedman’s book, “Free to Choose: A Personal Statement.”

“He became the conservatives’ “icon” because he was “seen as the best person to beat the Democratic Party candidate, despite his lack of political leadership experience,” Stanford sociology professor Gi-Wook Shin told AFP.

“That does not bode well for Korean democracy as we may expect further polarization,” he added.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated South Korea’s new president on his victory, despite Suk-yeol’s questionable policies.

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