South Korean president Moon Jae-in's popularity ends 2018 at its lowest rating

Agencia EFE
Seoul, South Korea Published: Dec 31, 2018, 11:59 AM(IST)

File photo of South Korean President Moon Jae-In. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Support for Moon Jae-in stood at 45.9 per cent, according to a survey.

The popularity rating of South Korean President closed 2018 at its worst, amid an economic slowdown in the country and an alleged case of spying on civilians by a former official in the presidential office, a report said on Monday.

Support for Moon Jae-in stood at 45.9 per cent, according to the survey conducted by Realmeter, the Yonhap news agency reported.

The decline comes at a time when South Korea is experiencing an economic slump and has been marked by the recent publication of reports that a former researcher collected information on civilians while working for the presidential office.

Moon's approval rating soared to over 70 per cent in the first week of January, when the thaw in relations between the two Koreas began to develop after the conciliatory New Year message from North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un and reached a peak of 77.4 per cent just after the inter-Korean summit on April 27.

The popularity of the president fell to 53.1 per cent in mid-September due to signs of economic slowdown in the country. The forecasts for economic growth for the fourth-largest economy in Asia for this year have been cut to 2.7 per cent, below the 3 per cent predicted by the government at the beginning of the year.

Although Moon's popularity rating shot up again to 65.3 per cent two weeks later, after the third summit between Moon and Kim held in Pyongyang, the rating has been in continuous decline since October.

The index dropped below the 50 per cent barrier at the end of November, in the midst of the slowdown in the economy, reaching its current level, the worst since Moon became president in May 2017.

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