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Disapproval Grows for South Korea’s President Amid First Lady’s ‘Dior Bag Scandal’ TIME

South Koreans President Attends Independence Movement Day

The disapproval rating for South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol hit its highest level in about nine months in a major poll amid escalating questions over whether the first lady inappropriately received a designer bag.

Read More: South Korea’s ‘Dior Bag Scandal,’ Explained

The disapproval rate for Yoon rose to 63% from 58% in a weekly tracking poll by Gallup Korea released Friday. The polling group cited the “issue” around the first lady as one of the drivers for the rise in the rate. 

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The incident has cast a shadow over the president as his conservative People Power Party is trying to wrest control of parliament in an April election.

Read More:The Ultimate Election Year: Half of World Heads to Polls in 2024

Yoon has yet to speak publicly about a video released that appeared to show his wife Kim Keon Hee receiving a Christian Dior bag valued at about $2,200 from a Korean-American pastor in September 2022. The video was shot with a hidden camera and released on the YouTube channel of a liberal political group, Yonhap News reported

PPP leader Han Dong-hoon said the video showed what appeared to be deliberate entrapment. Han added there were aspects of it that could cause concern among the public which briefly led to some friction with Yoon, Yonhap and other local media reported.

Members of the Democratic Party have targeted the first lady and the party used its majority in parliament to push through a measure calling for a special investigation into allegations of stock manipulation. Yoon vetoed the measure and his wife has denied any wrongdoing.

South Korean presidents serve a single five-year term, and the April election will determine whether Yoon can push through his agenda or if he’ll continue to face gridlock in the body for the three years left in his term.

If the PPP seizes control of parliament from the opposition, it is likely to push through economic policies that include taking on powerful labor unions, reducing regulations on businesses, and tax cuts for companies and on real estate transactions.

Jon Herskovitz / Bloomberg

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