May 9, 2017

#StreamUpdate: A closer look at the latest developments from stories we're following

South Korea and France have chosen new leaders, what does the future hold?


Moon Jae-in is South Korea’s new president. The former human rights candidate of the left-leaning Democratic Party of Korea claimed victory after his two closest rivals conceded defeat early on Tuesday morning.
Moon has called the former government’s handling of North Korea incompetent, and has pledged to change that. He is urging the use of both pressure and dialogue to deal with Pyongyang, and wants to promote cross-border economic integration. US President Donald Trump has played a role in this election. He recently said the South Korean government should pay for the US Terminal High Altitude Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system the US is building on the Korean peninsula. Trump also expressed a willingness to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, catching the South Koreans, traditionally an ally in the region, by surprise.

Joining The Stream:

Suki Kim @sukisworld
Investigative journalist

Se-Woong Koo @sewoongkoo
Co-founder and publisher, Korea Exposé

France has a new president. Emmanuel Macron was elected on Sunday in a hotly contested race that had both candidates bucking the political establishment. Macron’s victory wraps up a campaign that was filled with political and personal jabs, on the trail, on television and in a series of advertisements. Macron’s victory was largely expected in the final days leading up the election, but it has exposed a deep rift in the country, and left a lot of questions. Macron does not yet have a parliamentary party ready to stand in the June assembly elections, and he has never held political office before.

Marine Le Pen, the far-right populist candidate, wanted to seal France’s borders and withdraw from the European Union. The nationalist played into the country’s fears of immigration and national security, as France is still reeling from a series of attacks. Though she was defeated, her strong performance in the polls shows that the wave of populism sweeping the country is alive and well. In her defiant concession speech she vowed to continue her mission.
Macron, the centrist endorsed by former US president Barack Obama, was defined by his pro-EU and pro-immigrant stance. Observers called the election a referendum on the political and social character of France. His election was met by relief from other European leaders.

As the new president begins his task of leading France, we’ll take a look at what lies ahead for Emmanuel Macron.

Joining The Stream:

Rim-Sarah Alouane @RimSarah 
PhD candidate in public law, University of Toulouse Capitole

Manuel Reinert @ManReiii
PhD candidate, American University

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.