Steven Denney

Steven Denney

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South Korea’s democracy is experiencing some eventful years. Last April, the ruling Saenuri party saw an unexpected loss in the parliamentary elections; and next year. in late 2017, President Park Geun-hye’s term in office will end as new presidential elections are conducted. Until then, the opposition parties will likely try to consolidate and attempt to create a unitary platform around a single candidate in order to capture the Blue House.

To learn more about South Korea’s democracy, we met with Steven Denney after April’s parliamentary elections. We took a look back at the first three years of President Park Geun-hye’s presidency and spoke about the attitudes and peculiarities that shape the country’s democratic process. Additionally, we asked for his opinion about the voices that see South Korea’s democracy threatened by the authoritarian tendencies of the current administration.

Steven Denney is a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Toronto and a doctoral fellow at the Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs. In addition to various academic articles, Steven Denney is also a frequent contributor to The Diplomat and the Managing Editor of

Things may change, new people may enter the political fray, they may throw their hat in the ring and run for President. There are certainly a long list of people who have the name recognition and the popular support. […] A lot of South Korean politics are personality-driven. So you don’t exactly have to be a skilled, experienced politician to do well – or to win the presidency.

The interview was recorded on May 17th in Seoul. As indicated in the episode, some additional material was recorded on July 25th.