South Korea: Breaking a Promise

Breaking a Promise

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In the closing days of his 1987 electoral campaign, South Korean President Roh Tae Woo made a surprising pledge. If he won the country's first free elections in nearly two decades, the handpicked successor to ex-General Chun Doo Hwan promised to submit his administration to an interim vote of confidence -- giving wary voters, in essence, a chance to change their mind. But last week, citing the danger of "social chaos," Roh broke his campaign promise and indefinitely postponed the long-awaited referendum.

Roh also ordered a sharp crackdown on dissidents, arming police divisions with M-16 rifles and abandoning a policy...

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